By David Slone
WARSAW — Two Warsaw restaurants that have been looking for alcohol licenses for some time have found them and the Warsaw Common Council gave them their approval Monday night, Sept. 18.
Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer explained the request before the council Monday to accept a formal commitment from Salvatori’s and Taqueria El Comal for the supplemental 210 alcohol permits was something new for the council and the city.
“State Rep. Ethan Manning proposed three-way liquor permits — actually, they’re supplemental 210 permits, they’re intended for restaurants. In his bill, House Enrolled Act 1200, he proposed for many communities in central and northern Indiana, anywhere from one to four additional permits for the community, the city, for whatever jurisdiction they were listed in. But being these 210 alcohol permits, they’re required to follow state code … which requires that those who are interested in these, file an application with the state and then they have to file a commitment to the community on the type of business that they’re going to operate.
The council is required to pass the ordinance approving that,” he said.
The city of Warsaw only has two supplemental 210 alcohol permits, and those are being sought by Salvatori’s and Taqueria El Comal. Every year, when the permits are up for renewal, they not only have to be approved by the county and state ATC, but also by the city.
City attorney Scott Reust said, “The really beneficial thing, particularly for the two permits that were made available for the city of Warsaw, is they are supplemental 210 permits, which allow the sale of beer, wine and liquor on premises at the restaurant. It’s not a carry-out permit. It’s an on-premises permit.”
He said the advantage of these supplemental 210 permits is the cost of them. “If they had to go out and buy a 210 permit from another restaurant that maybe was interested in selling theirs, it would be quite expensive. This is a benefit to communities that, without quota, they are able to offer these supplemental 210 permits and Warsaw has two,” Reust stated.
As part of the state statute, the restaurants have to make a written commitment to the community of what kind of restaurant they’re going to be. Taqueria El Comal is an authentic Mexican restaurant, while Salvatori’s is an authentic Italian restaurant.
Representatives of both businesses were present at the council meeting.
The permits, if approved, are not transferable, Thallemer stated. Enrolled Act 1200 took effect July 1, 2023, and some of the communities allowed extra permits include Kendallville, Warsaw, Winona Lake, Syracuse, Carmel, Fishers and others.
“The city does have a say-so in this,” he said.
Attorney Jack Birch, representing Taqueria El Comal owners Hermila and Tony Mendoza, said the Mendozas have been in the restaurant business in Warsaw for about 18 years, having operated several different businesses. They’ve operated Taqueria El Comal at 828 E. Winona Ave. since 2013.
He explained that the request for the council’s approval of the formal commitment was one of many steps in the process.
“Alcohol licenses are site-specific. No matter what license it is. It is site-specific. This is also personal and can’t be transferred,” Birch said. If the Mendozas ever decided to get out of the restaurant business, they lose the right to the supplemental 210 alcohol permit and it becomes available for someone else.
Reust said House Enrolled Act 1200 is pretty extensive and there’s not been a lot of guidance on it. “I think these might be the first two (in the state), or close to the first two, near the top of the who’s getting through the process of these supplemental permits,” he said.
Jeremy McClain, operating partner with Salvatori’s, represented that restaurant before the council.
After a number of questions were asked by the council, they unanimously approved the ordinances for both restaurants on first and second readings.
In other business, the council:
- Heard a presentation on the city’s comprehensive financial plan from Jeff Rowe, Baker Tilly. He said the city continues to be on a positive path from a financial standpoint.
- Had a public hearing on the 2024 budget, appropriations and tax rates. No one from the public was present to speak.
- Approved a 10-year personal property tax abatement for Dalton Corporation, 1900 E. Jefferson St. The project includes new equipment to modernize Dalton’s core production lines and is expected to cost $1,683,122.
- Reviewed and discussed a draft of an application for city American Rescue Plan Act funds. The application will be retooled and brought back before the council for final approval at their next meeting.
- Acknowledged a conflict of interest disclosure from Warsaw Police Department officer Rogelio Navarro who provides some catering for the city.