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Special election could bring alcohol sales to Owenton

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Referendum to be held Sept. 16 • Restaurants would consider changes to sell alcohol

A special election has been slated for Sept. 16 concerning the possible sale of alcohol at restaurants within the city limits of Owenton but the restaurant owners behind the push said their establishment will continue to be a family-friendly environment.
The special election will take place in the Owenton Incorporated precinct which includes the Owenton city limits in its entirety.
Only those registered to vote in the Owenton Inc. precinct can vote in the election.
The polling place will be the Owen County Courthouse.
Mario Chavez, a part owner of Casa Mexican Restaurant, said the establishment gathered signatures for several months before coming up with the needed amount of signatures.
A total of 143 signatures were collected on a petition, which was then sent to the Owen County Clerk’s Office for verification of names.
Chavez said the future of his business “absolutely” depends on the election and the opportunity to sell alcohol within the establishment could raise its revenue by 30 percent.
If the election is unsuccessful, Chavez said he and the other owners of the establishment would have no other option but to shut the restaurant down.
According to Chavez, the owners of Casa Mexican Restaurant have served as sponsors or made donations to a wide variety of Owen County events.
“It’s not all about (Casa Mexican Restaurant),” Chavez said. “It’s about the community too. The more we have, the more we can give back to the community.”
Like the Frankfort branch of Casa, Chavez said the Owenton establishment will not have a stand-alone bar and only serve drinks with meals.
Those in the Owenton Inc. precinct will vote yes or no to the question  “Are you in favor of the sale of alcoholic beverages in Owenton at restaurants and dining facilities with seating capacity of at least 100 persons and which derive at least 70 percent of their gross receipts from the sale of food?”
Smith House Restaurant Owner Billy O’Banion said his establishment is not within the city limits or the Owenton Inc. precinct.
According to state law, O’Banion could go before the Owenton City Council and request that the establishment be annexed into the city.  
O’Banion said if the election is successful, he plans to expand his business with outdoor seating and make the request to the city council.
Family Billiards & Restaurant holds approximately 80 to 85 people with its counter space.
Shawna Arrowood said she and her husband Alfred Arrowood, the owners of Family Billiards & Restaurant, would not look to expand their business if the vote were successful.
“We are dead set against it,” Shawna Arrowood said. “The way we see it, if a business is failing the sale of alcohol is not going to save it. If I go somewhere to eat I’m concerned with the way the food tastes, not if I can have a drink or not.”
Donna Sabo, the director of marketing with Hometown Pizza, said the Owenton branch of Hometown Pizza holds approximately 80 to 90 people.
Sabo said if the election is successful, the company would likely look to expand the Owenton branch for the opportunity to sale alcohol.
Betty Richardson, the owner of Farm House Grill, said her establishment only seats 50 people.
Richardson said as long as Dr. F.T. Clements office was in business beside Farm House Grill, everything at her establishment would remain the same.
The Owenton Inc. precinct consists of 1,038 registered voters.