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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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David Taub has spent most of his career in journalism behind the scenes working as a TV assignment editor and radio producer. For more than a decade, he has worked in the Fresno market with such stops at KSEE-24, KMJ and Power Talk 96.7. Taub also worked the production and support side of some of TV sports biggest events including the Super Bowl, the NBA Finals and NASCAR to name a few. Taub graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email