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.


What are your thoughts? Leave your comments below.

Contact David Taub

Phone: 559-492-4037 / e-mail

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

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4 Responses

  1. David Jones

    It seems quite insignificant since there is a liquor store 20 feet from the restaurant. A blanket proposal as a policy shows a lack of thought, which is troubling in itself.

  2. Jared

    There is an existing liquor store in the same shopping center as Sabor MX that presumably poses much more of a risk to students than serving cocktails at Sabor MX would. This may be an instance where the ABC should ignore the school district’s otherwise reasonable concerns.

  3. Jan

    It’s absurd to think a family restaurant would be a danger to school children. The restaurant opens after school and in weekends. The liquor store at the opposite end of the shopping area is much more a threat. So why are they there?? It just seems they are on over-kill there.

  4. Alex

    I agree that it is absurd that this is being opposed, semmingly because it’s a school in North Fresno. FUSD has campuses that are surrounded by businesses more detrimental to the health and safety of students ex: Bars, Liquor Stores, Fast Food restaurants ( and no nearby grocery store.) There are plenty of FUSD campuses that are within walking distance of full service bars and liquor stores.


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