Beer and wine approved for Pigeon Forge restaurant patios

Beer and wine approved for Pigeon Forge restaurant patios


6 News Reporter

PIGEON FORGE (WATE) - Pigeon Forge City Commission voted Monday evening to allow restaurants with patios the right to serve beer and wine outside.

The change, which passed 3-2, requires that a restaurant have 75 seats or more inside to serve alcohol out on the patio. The patio also has to be attached to the restaurant and it cannot have its own bar.

At Big Daddy's Pizzeria, the hand-tossed, specialty pizzas are what it's known for. But before Monday night's vote, owner Bruce Johnson said sometimes business takes a hit when he has to remind customers they can't have an adult drink with their food if they're on the patio.

"They say we can go to Sevierville and Gatlinburg and have it. Why can't we here? We've had quite a few people leave," Johnson said.

Mayor David Wear said earlier Monday he would vote in favor of the change. "It was brought to us by the Pigeon Forge Hospitality Association. They represent businesses in Pigeon Forge so that tells me there is a demand for it," he said.

Supporters of the legislation said they're not pushing for liquor by the drink. They're only trying to expand a rule that already exists.

"I sympathize with them, but we are family oriented. We really don't want it out on the open," said Commissioner Howard Reagan.

At least two commissioners were strongly against the legislation and said any alcohol expansion is sending the opposite image of the family-friendly atmosphere.

Pigeon Forge spends millions to advertise.

"The drugs and alcohol has picked up so much lately that it's terrifying. I work with so many families torn apart by alcohol," said Liberty Baptist Church Assistant Pastor Jake Suttles.

If Pastor Suttles had it his way, he added that alcohol would be banned all together.

"It's so easy to change. It's so easy to bring on new stuff, but we can never go back," said Commissioner Randal Robinson.

But supporters say commissioners should not be legislating morality.

"The Pigeon Forge City Commission is not here to tackle the question of whether drinking is a sin or not. That's not what we are voting on," Mayor Wear said.

"If you have it inside, then why can't they have it outside? If it's a moral issue, then they shouldn't have it at all," Johnson said.

About 18 people spoke before the vote, and most were opposed.

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