Drinking Alcohol While Preparing to Order at a Restaurant Illegal in Utah

"Compliance officers" cracking down as Sundance Film Festival begins


On the eve of one of the year's biggest gatherings of out-of-state visitors, restaurant owners in Utah are learning the hard way that it's illegal for diners to sip an alcoholic beverage while deciding what to order from the menu.

Compliance officers and the state's liquor-control agency say they are warning owners that their employees are in violation of Utah law if they serve alcohol before diners actually request food. To back up the effort, authorities in undercover stings have issued citations to eateries for this type of violation, which in the past was rarely enforced.