Available liquor licenses for restaurants all dried up in BG

Site for Rapid Fired Pizza on South Main Street, Bowling Green


BG Independent News


Liquor licenses are hard to come by in Bowling Green. Just ask Ross and Peter Wiley, who are trying to open a Rapid Fired Pizza restaurant in town.

The state parcels out liquor licenses based on community populations. In Bowling Green, all the available licenses for beer, wine and liquor are already issued – except for some still available for carryouts and places of private memberships.

Since there are no more available liquor licenses for sit-down establishments for the public in Bowling Green, any new business wanting to serve liquor needs City Council’s blessing in order to purchase a license from another community and use it here.

So that leaves the Wileys at the mercy of City Council to allow the company to buy an available liquor license from another city and use it at a Rapid Fired Pizza shop opening soon at 852 S. Main St.

The restaurant business, founded in Dayton, already has 20 locations. It specializes in a set up where customers pick out their pizza crusts, sauces and toppings, then have it cooked in three minutes. The Wileys would like to offer craft beer with the pizza.

Ideally, the Wileys would like to serve local craft beers through a process called “I Pour It.” The self-pour process scans the customer’s driver’s license for age and weight. The process is used successfully at other locations, they told City Council Monday evening.

But some council members voiced concerns about allowing another liquor license in the city. Once the liquor license is transferred to the Bowling Green location, it can then be sold to another business in the city if Rapid Fired Pizza closes or moves.

That troubles council member Sandy Rowland, who said she is concerned that if Rapid Fired Pizza moves, the license could be transferred to a downtown location. That would be competition for existing downtown restaurants serving beer – and it could take a location that would be better as a retail business.

But Peter Wiley assured city council that it would not be moving. The Wileys have invested approximately $500,000 in the South Main Street site and will be employing about 30 people.

“It’s a half million dollar investment. I’m not moving it,” Peter Wiley said. The restaurant is expected to open in about three weeks.

The last new liquor license in Bowling Green was approved for Guajillo’s, which opened in 2014. That license was purchased from another community, and also faced questions from city council – but was eventually approved.

Rowland said Bowling Green residents want more restaurants – but not more bars. She also expressed concerns about more beer sales potentially leading to more demands on law enforcement.

Peter Wiley explained that beer sales represent only about 1 percent of sales at the pizza restaurant – but it helps bring people in the door who would like craft beer with their food. The restaurant plans to suggest pairings of certain types of pizzas with certain craft beers, he added.

Following is a list of the different type of licenses, and how many are already in use in Bowling Green:

  • C1 and C2 are for carryouts. BG has a quota of 32 each, with 51 being issued and 13 available.
  • D1 is for serving beer until 1 a.m. BG has quota of 16, with all being issued.
  • D2 is for wine and liquor until 1 a.m. BG has quota of 16, and all are taken.
  • D3 is for liquor until 1 a.m. BG has 16, and all are in use.
  • D3A is for liquor until 2:30 a.m. BG has issued 9 and 8 are available.
  • D4 is for beer, wine and liquor for members only until 1 a.m. BG has quota of 16, with four issued and 12 still available.
  • D5 is for beer, wine and liquor until 2:30 a.m. All 16 licenses are in use.

So that means currently there are no available licenses for businesses wanting D1, D2, D3 of D5 permits.

At the previous council meeting, council member Bob McOmber questioned the fairness to existing local businesses of another liquor license is approved beyond the number already granted by the state.

City Attorney Mike Marsh mentioned that the transfer requires the owner to make an economic development investment in the community – which the Wileys have done.

In other business at Monday’s meeting:

  • Planning Director Heather Sayler said the next Community Action Plan open house will be Sept. 12, from 5 to 7 p.m., in the Wood County District Public Library.
  • Municipal Administrator Lori Tretter announced a new Citizens Academy is starting soon to help educate city board and committee members about city departments and divisions.
  • Public Works Director Brian Craft reported that work on Fairview and Conneaut avenues is done. Work on the Manville waterline is continuing.
  • Council amended the zoning code to allow for a Penta Career Center satellite school in
    Bellard Business Park.
  • Council approved a contract with the Bowing Green Police Command Officers Association. The union and the city agreed on a 1.5 percent increase in year one, 2 percent in year two, and a 2.5 percent increase in year three.