- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
A revised proposal to add a dining area and wine dispensers at a Hollywood Road grocery store won approval last Thursday from St. Mary’s Alcohol Beverage Board, resolving an ongoing effort by the business’ owners to revamp its services.
The package goods license long held by Marilyn McKay’s Liquors was changed to a restaurant alcohol permit. Marilyn McKay’s son, Thomas F. McKay, said the remodeled store will reopen next month with a focus on prepared foods and an expanded selection of wines, craft beers and liquor. McKay said a wine bar with dispensing machines will control how much a customer buys and drinks.
“You can get very small samples or a full glass,” he said. “You limit how many ounces they are able to consume in an hour.”
McKay said that the store will still have “a couple of aisles of traditional groceries,” such as canned goods and dry goods, and that 90 percent of the store’s revenue will still come from food sales.
“What happens if it really doesn’t pan out?” board Chairman Moses Saldaña asked.
“Mr. Chairman,” McKay responded, “we’re going to make this work.”
David Dent, who is a proprietor of a Tall Timbers grocery with an adjoining bar and eatery and also is a co-director of the St. Mary’s Retail Beverage Association, protested that McKay’s request too closely followed another proposal for the same site that was rejected by the board, and that state law limits the reclassification of old grocery store alcohol licenses to a special exemption in Prince George’s County.
Michael Davis, McKay’s lawyer, countered that last week’s proposal involved a different applicant than before, and that “the premises are completely different than what was presented months ago.” The lawyer said the Prince George’s exemption does not prohibit similar requests from being granted in the rest of the state, including for the McKay’s store, which has had a liquor license since 1952.
“I’m just appalled that this presentation [by Dent] has been made,” Davis continued. “Frankly, I’m a little miffed that this is even coming up.”
“He has a right to voice his protest,” Saldaña replied, shortly before the board members approved a motion by Vice Chairman William R. Cullins III that the request be granted.
In June, the board members allowed the grocery to reduce the floor space in the building covered by its existing liquor license, but they denied a request by Thomas F. McKay’s wife, Laschelle McKay, for a separate alcohol permit for the proposed restaurant in the rest of the building.