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Why Fresno Unified is Opposing Liquor License



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Sabor MX Mexican Bistro opened two years ago to serve restaurant goers in northwest Fresno.

“Fresno needs something like that…a nice place, a nice sit down full restaurant with great service, great food and an exceptional experience,” says co-owner Alberto Torres.

Torres and partner Santos Arevalo want to expand their liquor service, and recently applied for a license to serve cocktails in addition to beer and wine. “Our customers need more than just beer and wine. They asked us if we can sell cocktails. That is the reason why we decided to upgrade our license,” Torres said.

While city staff have given their thumbs up, one entity is appealing the decision to the city planning commission…The Fresno Unified School District.

Miguel Arias is the district spokesman. “We’ve objected because it is within 1,000 feet of Figarden Elementary School. Actually, it is 580 feet from the school. Our standard protocol is to oppose any alcohol license or upgrade of an alcohol license within 1,000 feet of a school site.”

Figarden is just south of the shopping center where Sabor is located on, down Brawley.

The school district is citing a state law (Business and Professions Code Section 23789(b)), that allows for the Alcohol Beverage Control board to deny the license. They are worried that a nearby business selling booze puts students in danger.

Arias understands that a restaurant upgrading its liquor license may not be as harmful as a convenience store opening up selling beer. “It’s no reflection on the restaurant owner or venue itself. I’m sure it’s a great place to eat and have dinner after work. We are just trying to meet our responsibility.”

“I think the district should come to my restaurant and see for themselves that we are no threat to the school or kids or employees. I understand there is a safety issue and they are doing it just to protect themselves. As a small business owner, I feel that I am losing money.”

Torres says he regularly supports fundraising drives at Figarden Elementary.

Arias says the school district formally opposes about 6-12 alcohol licenses a year from the city or county planning commissions.

City staff recommends that the planning commission reject Fresno Unified’s appeal.

They meet Wednesday (May 3) at 6 p.m. at city council chambers.


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Contact David Taub

Phone: 559-492-4037 / e-mail

This story was not subject to the approval of Granville Homes.

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Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email