Good to-go: Local restaurants talk about new alcohol-to-go law

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Places like Selah and Magic Tree were allowed to start selling to-go drinks to help with sales during the pandemic

(WKBN) – On Tuesday, Governor Mike DeWine signed House Bill 669. It allows places with the proper permits to sell alcohol to-go for the foreseeable future.

“It’s something that you can say, ‘Hey, I want to try one of them out,’ instead of going, getting a whole bottle yourself and not liking it… It’s someone that knows what they’re doing and offering you the service,” said Brian Palumbo, of Selah in Struthers.

John Rudy, of Magic Tree Pub & Eatery, said it’s more convenient and easier for the customer.

“It’s definitely helped,” said Rudy. “It’s definitely increased the alcohol sales and it’s also easier for our guests that can actually get to-go orders and drinks at the same time. Instead of stopping at the store and then coming here to pick up food, it’s just more convenient for them so it’s definitely been a huge plus for us.”

Places like Selah and Magic Tree were allowed to start selling to-go drinks to help with sales during the pandemic.

“It’s been rough,” said Palumbo. “We are not at full capacity…with not only our dining experience but with our staff, so what we did is we had to readjust everything to kind of treat it as a small restaurant.”

“It’s been OK,” said Rudy. “Not easy but we have a patio, the weather’s been gorgeous around here, so the patio’s been helping us…all-in-all it’s a positive note, but with winter coming up, it’s going to be hard when the patios close.”

The next few months might be difficult for some restaurants, which is why Palumbo and Rudy said it’s important to support local businesses.

“Just keeping our local economy booming…it’s a plus when you come into a local restaurant. The money stays here, and it also keeps other employees locally employed, too,” said Rudy.

He also said they look to support and source locally as much as possible.

Palumbo said they and other restaurants have to take it day-by-day, and it can change at any time, so it’s important to stay on top of it and do what you can. One thing they thought of was drink kits for at-home picnics.

“We have Moscow Mule kits that we were sending out…a lot of people liked that,” said Palumbo.

While the to-go cocktails are a great addition for places, the climate is always changing, and it’s important to listen to it and adapt while listening to the government for guidance.

“Now that our numbers are going back up, is he looking to take more percentage off of how many people that are allowed in our dining area or close us all down, again, completely?” said Palumbo. “We don’t know what’s going to happen because of what’s going on in this pandemic…so we deal with this on a daily basis is, what do people want and how to change our business model accordingly, and still keep true to ourselves.”

He urges people to keep supporting local as the restaurants, and everyone, navigates the uncertainty the pandemic has brought on, which goes back to what Rudy said.

“We all live in the Valley, a lot restaurant owners with kids have kids in the Valley that go to school, just keeping your money local here is very important,” said Rudy.

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