Durham County

4 out of 5 Durham restaurants don’t want to wait

Following a morning run, from left, Alex Warren, Chris Varner, Larz Robison, Blakely Garrity and Kerry Seal sip beers at Trophy Brewing & Taproom in Raleigh Sunday, July 9, 2017 in celebration of North Carolina's new Brunch Bill which allows restaurants and bars to serve alcohol on Sunday mornings.
Following a morning run, from left, Alex Warren, Chris Varner, Larz Robison, Blakely Garrity and Kerry Seal sip beers at Trophy Brewing & Taproom in Raleigh Sunday, July 9, 2017 in celebration of North Carolina's new Brunch Bill which allows restaurants and bars to serve alcohol on Sunday mornings. tlong@newsobserver.com

Durham restaurants want city leaders to let their customers buy alcohol before noon on Sundays – soon.

About 79 percent of the 49 surveyed restaurants favored quick action by the City Council on the brunch bill, according to a survey by Beyu Caffe’s owners and Shelly Green, president and chief executive officer of the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The Durham City Council plans to discuss a Durham ordinance to allow the sale of alcohol before noon on Sundays at its July 27 work session, which is the first meeting after the council’s summer break.

“I do not know if you have considered calling a special session or if that is even feasible, but I want you to know that a vast majority of our restaurants who weighed in on this issue feel it is of great importance to their business and they would love you to move as quickly as you can,” Green wrote in an email to the City Council.

Carrboro and Raleigh immediately passed ordinances as did Surf City, Atlantic Beach and the city of Hendersonville, Green pointed out in the email. Chapel Hill also passed an ordinance Monday.

The city of New Bern rejected early alcohol sales when an alderman’s motion failed to get a second.

In Durham, restaurant supporters cited more revenue for their businesses, more wages and tips for their staff and more tax revenues for local governments.

“Many also commented on the fierce competitiveness of their business and feeling disadvantaged over neighboring communities,” Green wrote. “Another interesting perspective revolved around visitors holding weddings and special events (or residents hosting these life occasions with out of state visitors) who would like the opportunity to be able to offer this amenity. Delaying this would impact them in a significant way.”

The survey was sent to restaurants and hotels with restaurants.

About 96 percent said they were in favor of Durham passing an ordinance allowing alcohol sales beginning at 10 am on Sundays, Green wrote.

One respondent who did not feel quite the same urgency noted it was important to take action but that City Manager Tom Bonfield and the City Council needed a break, Green wrote.

Bonfield said as of Thursday, no council members had asked for a special meeting.

Virginia Bridges: 919-829-8924, @virginiabridges

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