Starbucks has been thwarted from getting licenses to serve beer and wine in Utah because regulators say they’re not convinced the cafes are actually restaurants.
The Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control acknowledged that the places serve food, but noted that the choices are merely reheated on the premises, not cooked.
The agency said it would like state lawmakers to make the call.
The legislature is in a recess until January.
In the meantime, Starbucks is thwarted from rolling its evening program into the five Utah locations. Elsewhere in the country, 75 units in 10 states are converted in the evening into bars, serving beer, wine and appetizer-like foods.
Utah has some of the most restrictive alcohol-serving rules in the nation, a reflection of its large Mormon population. Bars are outlawed, and restaurants have to meet such requirements as preparing drinks out of sight of customers.