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Commissioners take no action against bar
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County commissioners last week opted against taking action in the case of a local restaurant owner who initially filed sales tax reports showing Lorena's Food and Spirits sold more alcohol than food in 2012.

In a 3-2 vote, with Commission Chair Mike Berg breaking the tie, the restaurant and bar on Ga. 400 north of Hwy. 53 will not face any penalties in the matter.

The eatery's alcohol license came under review earlier this year when excise tax records filed with the county reported the percentage of alcohol sales in 2012 at Lorena's Food and Spirits at 51.3 percent.

Dawson County's alcohol ordinance requires eateries to draw 50 percent of their gross sales from food.

District 1 Commissioner Gary Pichon, who made the motion to take no action, did however issue a caution to owner Lorena Adkins.

"We are aware that this organization has been very close to the limits of alcohol with respect to the food," he said.

The restaurant's alcohol license was reviewed under similar circumstances in 2008, though it was later determined to be in compliance.

"We're also very aware, all members of this board, the alleged breaches of the peace that happened on these premises and we're very concerned," Pichon said. "We caution all those involved. The next time this comes in here, this will not be the outcome."

Adkins told the Dawson County commission the figures submitted for 2012 were inaccurate due to "several clerical errors" caused by the point-of-sale system at her business.

She said she determined last fall that her computer system was calculating items such as coffee, energy and soft drinks as alcohol sales since all beverage orders are rung up in the restaurant's bar.

According to Adkins corrected reports, the new figure places the restaurant's alcohol sales from last year in compliance at 49 percent.

Commissioner James Swafford voted against Pichon's motion.

"This problem in September, and I'm not sure if there was anything done to correct it prior to coming before us ... that concerns me greatly," he said. "The information that was presented to us, we have to take at face value."

Adkins said she wants Lorena's Food and Spirits to become a more reputable restaurant and plans several changes, such as extending hours to include lunch and reworking the menu.

"Not now or in the future do I want to stay in that 50-50 range. I'm striving for a more respectable 70-30," she told the commission in March.

If the business had been found to be in violation, the penalty could have resulted in a revocation or suspension of its alcohol license.