Beer Board punishes four Chattanooga restaurants

Beer Board punishes four Chattanooga restaurants

November 18th, 2011 by Naomi Jagoda in News

Four Chattanooga restaurants will not be able to sell beer over most of the Thanksgiving weekend because they served beer to underage patrons.

The Chattanooga Beer and Wrecker Board voted Thursday to issue three-day suspensions to two Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bars, a Fuji Steak & Sushi and an Outback Steakhouse. The suspensions will run from Nov. 24 through Nov. 26.

All four underage servings occurred on Oct. 29 when police sent 18- and 19-year-olds into the restaurants, incident reports stated.

The servers did not check IDs at the Applebee's at 2342 Shallowford Village Drive or the Fuji at 2207 Overnite Drive. However, at the Applebee's at 5606 Brainerd Road and the Outback at 2120 Hamilton Place Blvd., servers checked IDs but gave the customers beers anyway, according to incident reports.

Applebee's District Manager Christie Hudson admitted at the Beer Board meeting that the restaurants served beer to the teenagers. Both of the employees who served the drinks were fired, he said, and the two restaurants held storewide meetings after the incidents.

Xu Huang Dong, owner of the Fuji restaurant, said the server and manager involved in the establishment's incident were given a written warning because it was the first time.

But Beer Board Vice Chairman Christopher Keene noted that it was possible the restaurant had sold beer to underage customers on previous occasions.

"This is the first time you got caught. Let's make that clear," Keene said.

Dong said he has not spent much time in his restaurant and, after the Beer Board meeting, he said he plans to be there more often.

The incident at the Outback occurred when there was a temporary manager on duty, restaurant officials said. The new proprietor, Mike Gray, said he had already been scheduled to take over on Nov. 1 because the old proprietor was "not performing well" and was demoted.

The server at Outback who gave an underage customer beer was fired, Gray said, and he accepted the Beer Board's decision to suspend the restaurant's permit.

"It's fair," he said after the meeting. "I mean, it's the law."