Duluth council grants liquor license to reopening restaurantA unanimous Duluth City Council voted to authorize the issuance of a liquor license to Hacienda Del Sol, a once-popular restaurant aiming to reopen by the end of October at 319 E. Superior St.
By: Peter Passi, Duluth News Tribune
A unanimous Duluth City Council voted to authorize the issuance of a liquor license to Hacienda Del Sol, a once-popular restaurant aiming to reopen by the end of October at 319 E. Superior St.
“I love Hacienda Del Sol,” said City Councilor Jennifer Julsrud, but she expressed concern about more than $33,000 in unpaid bills, including utility debts, the restaurant racked up before its closure. Julsrud said she could support the request for a liquor license only if the business made good on its debt to the city.
“That’s a lot of burritos,” she said.
But Kevin Deutsch, the restaurant’s owner, has entered into a repayment plan with the city and has remained current in recent months, according to David Montgomery, the city’s chief administrative officer. Montgomery described the repayment plan as a viable solution, although he said he couldn’t vouch for the restaurant’s success.
City Councilor Garry Krause asked if the city had learned anything from its experience with Hacienda Del Sol’s unpaid bills.
“What processes do we have in place so we don’t have other $30,000 debts floating around there in the future?” he asked.
Montgomery said the city now routinely requires any business seeking a license from the city to demonstrate that it is current with municipal bills or at least is working to repay them. He said the city also has stepped up its collection efforts.
Julsrud suggested the city keep Hacienda Del Sol on a short leash.
“If they’re not making good on their bills, I don’t want to support a business that’s incurring additional debt to the city,” she said.
Councilor Sharla Gardner said that granting the restaurant’s liquor license request would likely put it on a better financial footing, making it more likely that the business would be able to fulfill its future obligations to the city.