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Tempe Cheba Hut applies for liquor license

Tempe's Cheba Hut "Toasted" Subs off of University Drive applied for a liquor license and is curently waiting approval from the City of Tempe. (Photo by Shawn Raymundo)
Tempe's Cheba Hut "Toasted" Subs off of University Drive applied for a liquor license and is curently waiting approval from the City of Tempe. (Photo by Shawn Raymundo)

Patrons may soon be able to order beer with their "pinner" at the Tempe Cheba Hut, the oldest location in a franchise of marijuana-themed sandwich shops.

Cheba Hut filed a liquor license with the City of Tempe earlier this month with the intention of building a bar inside the restaurant. Cheba Huts in California and Tucson have been approved to sell alcohol in the past, but in 2009, a legal battle ensued when the Greeley City Council denied that location's license in opposition to its marijuana-related theme.

The council's decision was later overturned in court under the argument of free speech, and the Greeley restaurant was granted its license to sell alcohol.

The application is scheduled to be reviewed by Tempe City Council officials as soon as August 9.

Tempe Cheba Hut General Manager Michael Lenox said the bar will serve beer and wine.

Lenox said the addition of a bar would increase popularity of the restaurant.

"I imagine we're going to draw in more of the college crowd," Lenox said. "We're really excited about it."

He said as long as no one protests it, he feels the council will support the restaurant selling alcohol.

Lenox said he anticipates the bar will be open in late September or early October if the application is approved.

Kinesiology sophomore Kate Steinken said she would be excited to see the Tempe Cheba Hut operate with a bar.

"(A bar) could only add an even more relaxed vibe to the already laid-back and chill atmosphere, and also to the super tasty food," Steinken said.

Graduate student Ashley Smith recently hosted a cast party at the restaurant for an ASU production she was part of, and said it was a good place to bring the underage members of the production staff.

"Cheba Hut was a good place we could go have fun and the 18-year-olds and up could still feel like adults," Smith said.

She loves the environment at the local Cheba Hut, but adding a bar would be bittersweet and isn't necessary to keep customers coming back, she said.

"I love Cheba Hut because it's easy (and) it's not really a bar scene," Smith said. "If they got a liquor license, it would become more bar-oriented."

Smith said the restaurant's decision to add a bar is a sound business decision but doesn't really reflect the "chill, laid-back" atmosphere of the restaurant.

"When you add alcohol, it can either turn really good or really bad quickly," Smith said. "I would still go to Cheba Hut, but I'd go in a different type of way. It would be more to go out and party."

 

Reach the reporter at dgrobmei@asu.edu

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