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Warner Robins considers adding brunch bill to next voting ballot, restaurant on board

On Monday, council will vote on an ordinance that could add the brunch bill to the November ballot. Voters can choose to change sale times from 12:30 p.m. to 11 a.m.

WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — When you think of brunch, you might think of bottomless mimosa's. In 2018, the state of Georgia passed the brunch bill, allowing individual cities and counties to vote on whether or not restaurants can serve alcohol starting at 11 a.m. on Sunday instead of 12:30 p.m.

Counties like Macon-Bibb and Baldwin County approved the brunch bill in 2019. In Houston county, only Perry and Centerville have passed the bill. 

Now Warner Robins is bringing it up for discussion.

"You have the idea of brunch, it's inevitable that people are gonna think, 'Okay, brunch I'm gonna have some mimosa's, maybe a Bloody Mary,'" Jessica Santa Maria said.

Santa Maria is the manager at Fresco Italiano. The restaurant is Italian-based but well-known for its steaks and a variety of cocktails and wines. 

"Everybody has an old-fashion, but our Fresco's old fashion is delicious. We have a lot of customers that come just for the old-fashion," she said.

She says with neighboring cities offering alcohol at 11:00 a.m., they often get a crowd of people hoping to get their drinks at 11:00 a.m. too. 

"We have a lot of people that come at 11:00 a.m., and they have to wait until 12:30. They were ok, but they were like, 'maybe this would be better if we could start drinking cocktails before," Santa Maria said.

Now, the city of Warner Robins wants to bring the choice to voters. Council will vote on adding an ordinance that would add the question to the ballot on November 7. 

It would only effect restaurants, or hotels. Grocery stores and retail establishments would still not be permitted to sell before 12:30 p.m.

Santa Maria says they have a large profit in alcohol sales. In a week they make $20,000 - $25,000 in alcohol sales. To add the extra hour and a half they could make an upwards of $300.

"Right now with the economy how it is, it's going to help out a lot," Santa Maria said.

She says more than that it will improve customer experience throughout the city. 

"It makes having a great time for the customers, like a better experience. Like having this pairing of the food and the drinks. I think it's gonna be a really good thing for us," Santa Maria said.

Before council votes on whether to add the bill to the November ballot, they will hold a public hearing for folks to share their opinion the bill. 

The meeting will be held in the city hall building starting at 4:00 p.m.

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