By Emily Sklar
Entirely East Lansing staff writer
East Lansing restaurant owner Arturo Santa Cruz was granted the right to sell packaged beer and wine in a unanimous vote during last Tuesday’s city council meeting.
Santa Cruz, owner of the restaurant El Azteco, addressed the council Tuesday night, urging them to grant his request for a Specially Designated Merchant, or SDM, license for his East Lansing restaurant.
Santa Cruz said: “In asking for this SDM license, I’m not asking to put up another liquor store. I’d really like to just sell beer and wine with the foods that we have, keeping us in tempo with the Lansing restaurant.”
Darcy Schmitt, Planning-Zoning Administrator, addressed the council and explained, “Typically a restaurant that would have an SDM license is using it as an additional accommodation for patrons coming in to get takeout so they are not making two stops to get a beverage.”
During the council meeting, another request to grant similar license to a BP gas station owner was denied due to concerns by the board. Mayor Pro-Tem Diane Goddeeris demonstrated her support for Santa Cruz’s request by discussing his success with his past proposal of adding rooftop seating.
“His record of how he has run that establishment gives me no concerns about allowing and supporting this use,” said Goddeeris.
Santa Cruz said that the approval of his SDM license will “add more flexibility to any marketing schemes we can come up with in the future.”
“It also widens up our horizons in terms of sales,” Santa Cruz added. “We’re hoping to get into sangria sales. I see that as a booming upcoming thing.”
Although Santa Cruz believes the new license will bring flexibility to his restaurant, he does not believe that it will have a huge impact on sales.
“It’s going to take us a while to get situated,” said Santa Cruz.
He also added that by obtaining an SDM license for his East Lansing location, his sales will match his Lansing location, which currently has an SDM license.
Santa Cruz has been El Azteco’s owner for almost 35 years, and has big plans to celebrate its 35th anniversary in August.