Booze minus food on ballot

Tisbury voters will decide via a ballot question if they will accept alcohol without food at town restaurants. — MV Times

Tisbury voters will decide through a ballot question whether alcohol can be served without also serving food. The legislature has already approved the measure, following a petition by the town. It’s now up to Tisbury voters to ratify or reject the alcohol change at the polls. The ballot question doesn’t allow for the establishment of traditional bars, but if passed, would permit restaurants to serve alcohol without the accompaniment of an entrée, appetizer, or dessert. The restaurant must have at least 30 seats, and cannot serve alcohol after 11 pm. Also, alcohol sales must not exceed 35 percent of the restaurant’s gross sales. 

Tisbury finance director Jonathan Snyder said he believes the town won’t be auditing restaurants to assess 35 percent adherence. Rather, he believes the restaurants will self-monitor for the 35 percent threshold.

Tisbury town administrator Jay Grande characterized the 35 percent threshold as an enforcement tool the select board could invoke if need be. Grande said the 35 percent gross is based on a year’s worth of sales. Tisbury allowed beer and wine sales in restaurants (and inns and hotels) in 2009. In 2017 the town allowed hard liquor. Both those alcohol changes required the alcohol to be consumed with a meal.