Mimosas, bloody marys, and other alcoholic staples of Sunday brunch will be available two hours earlier starting today - as will wine and liquor - when a new state law takes effect.
The law means that thousands of Ohio businesses allowed Sunday sales under their D-6 liquor permits can sell wine and liquor at 11 a.m. instead of 1 p.m. The change was part of the state budget bill signed by Gov. Ted Strickland.
"It's going to be pretty good for Ohio," said Mario Kiezi, who owns Navarre Carryout on Navarre Avenue in Oregon with his brothers Mark and Marvin. "It's more convenient for the customer."
Many summer Sundays, drivers headed for Cedar Point or the Lake Erie islands see Navarre Carryout and stop to stock up. Told they had to wait an hour or two, they left.
With the change in hours, "it's going to bring more money to the city," Mr. Kiezi said. "It's good news."
The new law affects 8,177 restaurants, bars, and carryouts.
"Sunday mornings are a brutal time because everybody wants to take the edge off," said Steven Carriker, who often tends bar during brunch at the Melt Bar & Grilled in the Cleveland suburb of Lakewood. "I constantly have people asking me for bloody marys and drinks like that."
Restaurateur Tom Cousino - of Navy Bistro, Tango's, and Cousino's Steakhouse - doesn't expect much change in northwest Ohio diners' routines.
"I think people have been used to having a mimosa and champagne and bloody mary at 1 o'clock on Sundays," he said.
"There were times during summer when people would be more in a party mood. They might come off their boat having a cocktail and glass of wine early," and they hoped to get an early drink at the restaurant.
"But over the years, it's not been a big deal," Mr. Cousino said.
"I'm not sure [early sales are] going to be a major revenue source."
On a routine Sunday, the new hours won't make much difference at Joseph's Beverage Center on Talmadge Road in Toledo, said Tom Shea, store manager.
"But when you get into holiday weekends, sometimes it kind of hurt you that you couldn't sell at an earlier time the Sundays before Labor Day or Memorial Day, or it depends, on how New Year's Eve or Christmas Eve fell," Mr. Shea said.
"There was one Christmas Eve, I had 60 people standing in line at 1 o'clock," Mr. Shea recalled. "[The change will] help ease the rush."
Sam B's in Bowling Green, anticipating the change, has weighed opening a Sunday morning bloody mary bar, said John Gardner, the restaurant's bar manager.
It's a difference of only two hours, and regulars knew they had to wait, Mr. Gardner said.
"But it's definitely a positive move where it could increase our sales," he said.
Beer sales are not affected, and about 1,700 businesses have permits that already allow them to sell liquor and wine beginning at 10 a.m.
Restaurant owners lobbied for several years for the earlier start time of 11 a.m. at additional locations, said Mark Glasper, spokesman for the Ohio Restaurant Association.
Restaurant executives think the change will help them to compete with airports, hotels, shopping centers, and other venues that don't have to wait until 1 p.m. on Sundays to serve wine and spirits, Mr. Glasper said. He said it also will help restaurants boost Sunday lunch sales.
But Doug Scoles, state executive director for Mothers Against Drunk Driving Ohio, said the new law shows that state legislators spend too much time caring about drinking hours.
"I just wish the Legislature would put the same effort into pumping up our drunk-driving laws and keeping our roads safe," he said.
Not all bars are itching to start pouring liquor and wine as early as possible on Sundays.
The brunch crowd at the West End Tavern in Lakewood, often arriving after church about 10 a.m., wouldn't mix well with professional-football fans looking to get buzzed before a game, said Parnell Egan, who works at the tavern.
But as kickoff nears and more people start drinking beer, Mr. Egan said, he can sense some customers becoming eager to taste the stronger stuff.
"A lot of people look forward to the 1 o'clock gong, if you will," Mr. Egan said.
This report includes information from the Associated Press.
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