Stephenville police’s strict enforcement of alcohol laws is the reason more arrests are being reported in the newspaper’s Jail Log — and is not the result of the council opening the door for more restaurants to serve alcohol with meals, a council member said Tuesday.
“It shows more rigorous enforcement by our police,” Place 5 council member Alan Nash said, noting that Police Chief Roy Halsell is leading the crackdown.
Nash said he doesn’t believe the increase is the result of B-5 zoning, which allows restaurants to serve alcohol if at least 70 percent of sales come from selling food and up to 30 percent come from selling alcohol.
Nash was among eight council members to vote in favor of changing the zoning from an “Industrial District” to a B-5 “Restaurant-Alcohol Beverage District” at 2811 W. Washington St., a move that paves the way for Stephenville Wings LLC to open a “Wingstop” restaurant that also will serve beer and wine.
Only Cyndi Godwin, who attended her last meeting as Place 1 council member Tuesday after being defeated by Pat Shelbourne in Saturday’s election, voted against the measure.
Godwin said she couldn’t support the zoning change because she believes the council should regulate alcohol and that there are “a lot” of people “in this town who don’t want to eat” in restaurants where alcohol is served.
However, council member Malcolm Cross said the zoning change needed to be approved because Stephenville Wings LLC met the requirements for the property to be rezoned.
Cross said restaurants wanting to sell alcohol that are legitimate and obey the council rules should be approved. He said that once the council set rules, then its efforts should be administrative.
The city should ensure everyone “plays by the rules and everyone gets equal treatment under the law,” Cross said.
Meanwhile, Annette Littlejohn - applicant/owner for Stephenville Wings LLC - said her group is interested in opening three such restaurants, including other “Wingstop” locations in Granbury and Cleburne, and that the Stephenville location is the first of the three that it plans on opening.
Littlejohn assured council members that the business doesn’t plan on having a drive-through window, even though it is at the end unit of the strip mall located on W. Washington Street in front of FMC Technologies.
Among other businesses planned for the strip mall, Littlejohn said, are Cold Stone Creamery, a check-cashing place and a hair salon.
Littlejohn said her group is projecting a mid-August opening for the restaurant. The group now must get approval of a liquor license for the restaurant from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC), but she said the group already has the appropriate paperwork filed with the TABC, Littlejohn said.
According to company officials, “Wingstop” offers restaurants with a nostalgic, aviation-themed atmosphere where the sole focus is on chicken wings. The chain now serves boneless wings that are made from 100 percent all-white meat chicken breast coated with a proprietary batter and breading.
“Wingstop” features nine wing flavors, including Original Hot, Cajun, Atomic, Mild, Teriyaki, Lemon Pepper, Hawaiian, Garlic Parmesan, and Hickory Smoked BBQ. The wings are always made-to-order and served steaming hot. Customers also choose from homemade side dishes: fresh-cut seasoned fries, bourbon baked beans, pearl potato salad, creamy cole slaw, vegetable sticks, rolls and assorted dipping sauces.
“Wingstop” has more than 450 restaurants either open or under development in 25 states and consistently tops industry growth rankings. “Wingstop” was chosen Festival Favorite Restaurant at the 2005 National Buffalo Wing Festival and their Cajun sauce took first place honors for the Best Creative Spicy Sauce in the festival’s blind taste test.
In July 2005, “Wingstop” ranked number 13 in Restaurant Business’ Top 50 Growth Chains (ranked by percentage increase in units) and was ranked the number one chicken wing chain by Entrepreneur magazine in 2005.
Troy Aikman, three-time Super Bowl champion and Hall of Fame inductee, signed on as the chain’s national spokesman in 2003.
DOUG MYERS is Managing Editor of the Empire-Tribune. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 965-3124, ext. 229.