Utah liquor board gives licenses to three new bars and eight restaurants

Two of the bars are located in southern Utah — one near Zion National Park, and one in Torrey.

(Isaac Hale | Special to The Tribune) The upstairs area at Kimi’s Chop and Oyster House in Sugar House is photographed on Friday, July 9, 2021. The business received a full liquor license from the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Services' commission on Nov. 30, 2023.

Utah’s liquor commission has approved licenses for three new bars — two of them in southern Utah.

The Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Services’ commission also approved liquor licenses for eight new restaurants at its monthly meeting Thursday, while also debating whether it should approve licenses for restaurants that aren’t quite ready to open.

One of the three bars that got its liquor license was Zion Brew Pub Beer Garden in Springdale, located at Zion Brewery just south of the entrance to Zion National Park. This business had been operating under a tavern license, but on Thursday, it was granted a full liquor license.

Etta Place Cider, a cidery in Torrey, also got its full license.

Of the two southern Utah businesses, Thue said, “It’s really exciting to see new bars in Springdale and Torrey really supporting our rural and underserved communities.”

Kimi’s Chop & Oyster House, in Salt Lake City’s Sugar House neighborhood, was the third establishment to receive a liquor license. In 2021, owner Kimi Eklund sued DABS after it took away her bar license. DABS said Kimi’s Chop and Oyster House closed several times in April and May that year, during the COVID-19 pandemic, without permission.

The commission also continued its debate over whether it’s official policy not to grant liquor licenses to restaurants that aren’t immediately ready to open.

“It’s not appropriate for us to change our formula from month to month as to whether we will award licenses to people who are not ready to operate,” said commissioner Thomas Jacobson. “I think we need to have a consistent basis.”

Thue countered that the unofficial rule was put in place during a time of license scarcity, and that DABS isn’t facing a scarcity now. She said she would rather support businesses that want to open, so they can take advantage of the holiday rush.

The DABS commission revisited the matter of Kabuki Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi Bar in Logan, which was rebuked at the last meeting over three violations involving selling alcohol to minors. On Thursday, commissioners approved a settlement agreement with Kabuki, saying that the restaurant had addressed its concerns, by performing further training with its employees and purchasing and using an ID scanner.

“We hope to not see you back here, unless you’re opening a new restaurant,” commission chair Tara Thue said.

In its annual financial report for fiscal year 2023 (which goes from July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023), DABS reported $579.05 million in total sales. Of those sales, $236.13 million went to state and local programs, including money directed to alcohol education such as Parents Empowered, an underage drinking prevention campaign.

The liquor board is scheduled to meet next on Dec. 21.

Bars that got new liquor licenses

Etta Place Cider, 700 W. SR-24, Torrey.

Kimi’s Chop & Oyster House, 2155 S. Highland Drive, Salt Lake City.

• Zion Brew Pub Beer Garden, at Zion Brewery, 95 Zion Park Blvd., Springdale.

Restaurants that got new liquor licenses

El Chubasco, 1890 Bonanza Drive, Park City.

Green Iguana, 250 Red Cliffs Drive, Suite 14A, St. George.

Gordo’s Tacos and Beer, 5470 S. 900 East, Suite 1, Murray.

Ramblin’ Roads, 707 E. Fort Union Blvd., Midvale.

Richie Lush’s Tennessee BBQ, 7182 Silver Creek Road, Park City.

Restaurants that got conditional licenses but aren’t ready to open

• Basta Pizzeria, in the Fashion Place shopping center, Murray, projected opening Dec. 14.

ChefDance Social, 427 Main St., Park City, projected opening Dec. 15.

Sol Agave, 650 Main St., Salt Lake City, projected opening Dec. 19.