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Does a restaurant have to provide food service as long as it has customers at its bar?

Paul Stephen
StarNews
If these women had children, the kids could sit at the restaurant bar with them. Photos.com

Photos.com

Q. If you run a restaurant with a bar in it, do you have to provide the option of food service as long as you have customers at the bar?

A. While many area kitchens start reeling back offerings as the night wears on, state law governing restaurants with bars is crystal clear. “If they’re a restaurant and they are serving alcohol, they have to have food available,” said N.C. Alcohol Law Enforcement special agent D.J. Hales, who oversees the district that includes New Hanover and surrounding counties.

As written, the law requires “substantial entrees” be available, Hales noted. The guidelines are a little murky about what qualifies as “substantial,” but the term can include the hot wings, jalapeño poppers, chicken fingers and nachos found on many late night menus. What it does not include, he added, is nibbles like peanuts and potato chips.

If you believe an establishment is operating outside the law, report possible violations by calling 877-ALE-AGENT (877-253-2436).

RELATED LINKS:

In North Carolina, are children allowed to sit or eat at the bar in a restaurant?

Are bars that don’t have a permit to cook or serve food allowed to offer a free buffet?

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