Back in May I told you the story of Roanoke’s self-styled “most honest restaurateur,” John Markell.
The ex-gun shop owner was in a jackpot with the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Board because he didn’t sell enough food at Markell’s Bar & Grill, a humble and smoky watering hole on Williamson Road.
And he wasn’t going to lie and claim he did, like he suspects a lot of his competitors do.
So he went to an ABC hearing in May, without a lawyer, and he told the truth.
Markell explained all the things he was doing to sell more food. He showed them the menu, with $2 grilled-cheese and egg-salad sandwiches, and other items.
But no matter what he did with food, his customers weren’t buying enough. He couldn’t sell at least $4,000 a month worth, as ABC regulations require for places with mixed-drink licenses.
Last week, Markell found out what his honesty would cost him: $1,000 and a 5-day liquor license suspension — provided he coughs up the fine by Aug. 27. If pays later, he’ll get a 10-day liquor license suspension.
Both of those are more severe than the $1,000 fine and 3-day suspension the ABC hit 202 Market with after River Laker did a dumb, impromptu and unapproved strip act there last year. That was ridiculous, too — but nudity is apparently a lesser ABC sin than selling too few sandwiches.
READ THE REST OF THIS COLUMN HERE.