Kent Chipotle gets license to sell margaritas

Simon Husted

Students found a new item on Chipotle’s menu Thursday and Wednesday, but it had nothing to do with rice, beans or meat. Instead it was margaritas for $4.50.

John Irwin, kitchens manager at Chipotle, said he and the other workers are still trying to spread the news about Chipotle’s newest alcoholic beverage.

He said he had workers at the register asking patrons if they’d like to add a margarita to their meal, Irwin said Thursday. He added that only one margarita was sold Wednesday when the new beverage was added.

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In October, city council approved Chipotle’s request for a D5 liquor license, the most expensive liquor license the state gives out to restaurants. The Mexican grill, located on the 400 block of East Main Street, was officially issued the license Dec. 1.

The restaurant previously carried a D1 liquor license that allowed it to serve only bottled or canned beer. But when The Robin Hood Inn, a former bar and live music venue at the opposite corner of Starbucks, closed down in the summer of 2010, Chipotle became next in line to take the open D5 liquor license.

Although the new license allows a business to serve any alcoholic beverage, Tawnie Reiter, the general manager for Chipotle, said Kent’s location doesn’t plan to add any new alcoholic beverages aside from margaritas.

The Ohio Liquor Control Board limits the city of Kent to only 15 D5 liquor licenses, all of which are filled, with seven businesses waiting for another license to open up.

“Now if there is a growth in population, more licenses can be issued,” said Lyn Tolan, director of communication with the Ohio Department of Commerce. Every year, the Ohio Liquor Control Board modifies each city’s quota with population growths and declines. Nothing major may change, though, until the 2020 US Census.

Akron, which has almost seven times the population size of Kent, has a quota of 100 D5 liquor licenses. Cleveland has double that number.

Contact Simon Husted at [email protected].