Cafe wins beer license appeal

Published 3:00 am Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Smokin’ Skillet Café can now serve beer with its meals after successfully appealing the Pike County Commission’s denial of the license.

Owners Elaine Corbin and Andrew Clarke requested approval of a beer and wine license at a July meeting of the Pike County Commission, but the commissioners denied the license in a 4-1-1 vote.

Elisha Freeman, minister at Hamilton Crossroads Church of Christ, argued against the license at the meeting, citing concerns over the restaurant’s location on U.S. Highway 231 and its small parking lot.

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Charlie Harris was the only commissioner to vote against the denial of the license and Homer Wright abstained from the vote.

Corbin said that she and Clarke began working on a formal letter of appeal to the Alabama Alcoholic beverage Control (ABC) Board in Andalusia following the denial.

“What we did is we typed up an official letter to the ABC board in Andalusia and gave reasons that we wanted to appeal the decision, those reasons being that there are other places that serve alcohol closer to Hamilton Crossroads Church of Christ than we are,” Corbin said. “Plus the fact that businesses at our location have previously been granted beer licenses. Other places around us do sell beer and wine, and they don’t serve food with their alcohol. You would think our situation would be a lot safer.”

Corbin and Thomas had argued at the commission meeting that Slow Country Saloon, a club with a full liquor license, is closer to the church than their restaurant.

Corbin said that their formal letter was sent from Andalusia to Montgomery to the headquarters of the ABC Board and a hearing was set for last Wednesday.

Corbin said that the wine portion of the license could not be appealed, but that the beer portion could and that the ABC Board overturned the commission’s ruling.

“The ABC board, after hearing both sides, decided there was no reason not to grant us the license in first place,” Corbin said.

Harry Sanders, county administrator, and Allen Jones, county attorney, represented the commission at the hearing.

Sanders said that they went to report on the action of the commission. Allen Jones could not be reached for comment by publishing time.

Smokin’ Skillet closed in July after the decision, but will open back up on November 1 and beer will be on the menu.

The Smokin’ Skillet Café is located about two miles south of Brundidge near Art Works and SaddleCreek Ranch. It will reopen for lunch and dinner.