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Tempe Cheba Hut to open bar

Cheba Hut 'taps' into a new market by adding beer and wine to their menu.
(Photo by Kurtis Semph)
Cheba Hut 'taps' into a new market by adding beer and wine to their menu. (Photo by Kurtis Semph)

Cheba Hut 'taps' into a new market by adding beer and wine to their menu.
(Photo by Kurtis Semph)

Correction: A former version of this article misspelled Greeley, Colo.

Tempe’s marijuana-themed Cheba Hut restaurant will officially open a bar in mid-October after months of waiting for a liquor license approval.

Customers looking for an alcoholic beverage to wash down their “Chronic” sub sandwich will be able to choose from a selection of beers and wines.

Cheba Hut sells alcohol in California and Colorado, but the business’s original Tempe location will be the only one in Arizona to serve alcohol.

Tempe Cheba Hut General Manager Michael Lenox said the bar will serve a variety of beers but is still deciding on the final selection of wines.

“It’s just the progression of the business,” Lenox said.

The restaurant will have six taps with mostly local beers, he said.

“We are still working all the beers out that will be on tap, but I can assure you they will complement our food,” Lenox said.

The L-shaped wooden bar is already built in the back of the store, but taps won’t be installed until the restaurant’s liquor license is approved by the Arizona State Liquor Board.

Franchise owner Dorian Lenz began the application process in late June with the City of Tempe. The City Council passed the petition to the Arizona State Liquor Board on Sept. 6.

The Arizona State Liquor Board will meet Oct. 4 to decide whether to approve the liquor license.

City of Tempe License and Collection Supervisor Bruce Smith could not speak to specifics of the application due to confidentiality laws, but said he doesn’t see why it would not be approved.

“I don’t see any issues with this (liquor license) application passing,” Smith said.

ASU alumnus Scott Jennings opened the Colorado-based company’s Tempe shop in 1998.

Franchises have faced issues in the past when attempting to sell alcohol because of the company’s open support of marijuana.

In 2009, a city judge denied the company’s liquor license application for its Greeley, Colo. location, ruling the restaurant chain did not meet community moral standards.

A county judge later overruled the city judge’s decision, saying it violated freedom of speech.

The Tempe Cheba Hut has not faced similar opposition.

Cheba Hut is located in the strip mall Rosita’s Plaza on Hardy and University drives.

Two other restaurants in the strip mall serve alcohol already, but not everyone is excited about Cheba Hut becoming the third.

A & N Sunvalley Dental Center is two doors down from the sandwich shop, and manager Anisha Avila said the tiny shopping center doesn’t need more establishments serving liquor.

“Honestly, we don’t need anymore.  There is too much alcohol in the strip mall already,” she said.

Cornish Pasty Co. restaurant manager Mike Blunden said it would be good for the neighborhood.

Cornish Pasty has a full-service bar.

“They are a completely different atmosphere than we are,” he said.

Sustainability senior Ryan Flosdorf is a Cheba Hut regular and is excited for the new bar.

“I live down the street and I would love to be able to grab a couple of beers with my lunch,” Flosdorf said.

Cheba Hut will train employees how to properly serve alcohol and will check identification for patrons who look younger than 30.


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