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The brunching hour: Wheaton restaurants and grocery stores may soon see earlier liquor sale start time

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013 1:23 a.m. CDT

WHEATON – Wheaton residents looking to sip a mimosa with their scrambled eggs or stock up on beer before the big game may soon be in luck.

The Wheaton City Council is considering an amendment to its liquor code to allow for alcohol sales earlier in the day.

The amendment could benefit area restaurants and grocery stores, said Paula Barrington, executive director of the Downtown Wheaton Association.

"It would be a real boon to our restaurants, in particular those that host Sunday brunch or bridal showers or baby showers," she said. "Some people want to have a Mimosa or a Bellini when they go out and this will allow our restaurants to serve them."

Currently, city code does not allow restaurants or grocery stores to sell liquor before noon on Sundays or before 11 a.m. and 9 a.m., respectively, on Mondays through Saturdays. The proposed amendment would change all of those times to 7 a.m.

City Manager Don Rose said the existing liquor sale start time is a remnant of the original 1987 ordinance allowing the sale of alcohol within city limits.

"Many of the towns had fairly restrictive Sunday liquor control ordinances on the starting time for the sales over the years," he said.

But that has changed, according to Rose.

"Most of the communities surrounding us have much more liberalized selling times than we do," he said.

As originally proposed, the amendment allowed for 10 a.m. liquor sales at restaurants and 8 a.m. sales at grocery, drug and department stores, both of which would apply every day of the week. But after evaluating other municipalities, the council decided an earlier sale start time was better.

City council member Todd Scalzo specifically cited the nearby communities of Naperville, Carol Stream and Glen Ellyn.

"If we're going to do it, we might as well be on a level playing field with them," Scalzo said.

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Sunday liquor sale start times:

• Wheaton (current) – Noon at restaurants and grocery stores• Wheaton (proposed) – 7 a.m. at restaurants and grocery stores• Naperville – 10 a.m. at restaurants, 8 a.m. at grocery stores• Carol Stream – 7 a.m. at restaurants and grocery stores• Glen Ellyn – Noon at restaurants, 10 a.m. at grocery stores• Downers Grove – 9 a.m. at restaurants, noon at grocery stores

Monday through Saturday liquor sale start times:

• Wheaton (current) – 11 a.m. at restaurants, 9 a.m. at grocery stores• Wheaton (proposed) – 7 a.m. at restaurants and grocery stores• Naperville – 7 a.m. at restaurants and grocery stores• Carol Stream – 7 a.m. at restaurants and grocery stores• Glen Ellyn – 7 a.m. at restaurants, 10 a.m. at grocery stores• Downers Grove – 8 a.m. at restaurants and grocery stores

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