MENU

Reason.com

Free Minds & Free Markets

This Taco Bell Can't Get a Liquor License Because City Officials Don't Like Taco Bell

But the pizza place next door can have one.

Ingram Publishing/NewscomIngram Publishing/NewscomOfficials in a Michigan suburb have denied a liquor license to a local business simply because they don't like Taco Bell.

Other restaurants along Main Street in downtown Royal Oak have been granted permission to serve alcohol. But the city council voted 5–2 this week to deny a similar license to a new Taco Bell Cantina. The Taco Bell Cantina concept is something the fast food chain is slowly rolling out in some parts of the country, offering an extended menu and alcohol sales. The location in Royal Oak opened in January and wanted to sell frozen margaritas and beer, according to the Detroit Free Press.

City Commissioner Kyle Dubuc tells the Free Press that letting Taco Bell serve alcoholic drinks "didn't fit with the city's vision" and that official preferred to give licenses to "locally managed, local concepts." But the Royal Oak Taco Bell is locally managed—as most fast food franchises are. It is owned by a third-generation Michigan company whose properties include parts of at least 80 restaurants in the northern Detroit suburbs.

The Cantina planned to sell local craft beers and Michigan-made liquors, an attorney for the restaurant tells the Free Press. After local police raised concerns about the liquor license, the Taco Bell's owners agreed to cut off alcohol sales at midnight and to provide additional security. That's already more than bars and other restaurants have to do. But it wasn't enough for the city.

The location of the Taco Bell Cantina had been empty for more than 20 years before it was developed at a cost of $750,000, the Free Press reports. The new restaurant has already hired 20 people and planned to hire 20 more, but without a liquor license its model may be unsustainable.

Dubuc tells the Free Press that he wouldn't have a problem with a Taco Bell selling booze if it were located somewhere else. "I'm not trying to encourage proliferation of national fast food franchises on our main street," he said.

Local control of government is generally preferrable to more centralized control, if for no other reason than because it's easier to exit when officials make your life difficult. Unfortunately, local governments are often controlled by people who think they're playing a real-life Sim City. Being a city commissioner doesn't give you the right to control all the decisions that people make within the boundaries of your jurisdiction—and it certainly doesn't give you right to discriminate against a business that doesn't appear to have done anything wrong in favor of other businesses that you just happen to like better. If the Pieology Pizzeria just a block down the street can sell beer, it's hard to understand why the Taco Bell Cantina can't.

"If a legal business or individual follows the proper procedures, government rules should be fair to everyone," says Jarrett Skorup, director of communications for the Mackinac Center, a Michigan-based think tank. "And if city officials feel they need to protect local residents from substandard food, they should rest assured that market competition has been providing that service very well for centuries."

Photo Credit: Ingram Publishing/Newscom

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    They should give Taco Bell a liquor license just to see what messed up corn wrapped monstrosities it will lead to.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    Cheesy margarita gordita crunch wrap tequila supreme.

    It'll make you run for the border.

  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    Chulito mohito!

  • Shirley Knott||

    Chinchilladas!

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Crusty hit hardest.

  • Shirley Knott||

    Well, that's all right then.

  • No Longer Amused||

    I actually want to try that.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Hmm, when others read "corn wrapped monstrosities," they start coming up with weird TexMex dishes. I pictured Michael Hihn yelling on the street corner wearing nothing but two corn tortillas.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    Keep this up and you'll be put on his list.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    I pictured Michael Hihn yelling on the street corner wearing nothing but two corn tortillas.

    Was he yelling at clouds? And was that with or without an onion tied to his belt? Paint a picture, man!

  • Mr. Gus||

    The tortillas were covering up his saggy-ass man titties, while his putrid stinky 8-inch old man penis flagged limply in the breeze in that state between "erect" and "flaccid" that is the hallmark of erectile dysfunction. As he stood on that street corner, he paced back and forth, yelling angrily about individual rights and how they conflict with each other and punctuating his statements with wheezes, coughs, and snorts. When the cops finally showed up after five hours to arrest him after receiving numerous complaints from the unfortunate denizens of the rundown neighborhood in which Hihn was parading, the old man pulled a GG Allin and laid down a big wet one right in front of them. While the police officers were gagging on the stench, Hihn made a run for it and easily escaped, along the way throwing off his corn tortilla bindings and letting the titties roam free. Incidentally, overdose deaths in that neighborhood quickly skyrocketed, with investigators frequently suspecting that these overdoses were actually intentional suicides. Also, five dogs were killed within the next hour by the cops, who wanted to ensure that their time hadn't been wasted when they came down to take care of Hihn. Also, the dook Hihn took was never cleaned up. It merely hardened and stopped smelling as horrible.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Now, THAT's how it's done

    *standing ovation*

    Seriously, I don't think I've read anything that fucked up here since the halcyon days of SugarFree's disturbing slashfic.

  • Mr. Gus||

    I aim to please.

  • RabbitHead||

    A G.G. Allin reference in a Reason comment. My life is complete .

  • RabbitHead||

    A G.G. Allin reference in a Reason comment. My life is complete .

  • gormadoc||

    You already wrote a Wiegel fanfic, write one for Hihn.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    It won't be much longer now until all restaurants are Taco Bell.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Demolition Man remains the most prescient movie ever.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Especially the part about Wesley Snipes going to prison.

  • Libertymike||

    He was railroaded.

    Look what happens when a black man challenges the tax man!

  • Daveheller||

    ssdafsf

  • Rich||

    SYSTEM SUPPORT DIVISION AIR FORCE STOCK FUND?

  • Sevo||

    Outperforming the Dow 5 years in a row! 1929, '30, '31, '32 and '33.

  • ||

    Demolition Man remains the most prescient movie ever.

    You clearly haven't seen it recently. I mean, it's still prescient, but Taco Bell has been retconned out and Pizza Hut retconned in. Apparently, Tex Mex doesn't resonate well with large parts of Europe and Asia. It's eerie.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Pizza Hut is much worse than Taco Bell.

    Honestly, Taco Bell is pretty good for what it is.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    They're owned by the same parent company, and the franchisee that runs most of the Taco Bell and Pizza Hut stores in Virginia has been merging them (along with KFC) into Frankensteinian KenTaco Huts all over the damn place.

  • ||

    Could be worse. We've got Long John, Silver Tacos rubbing up against each other around here.

  • No Longer Amused||

    The parent company is Yum Brands, aka PepsiCo.

  • Arcxjo||

    Pepsi divested itself of YUM (originally Tricon) back in the early 90s.

  • DJF||

    A friend of mine use to call it "Taco Hell" after getting food poisoning from one

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    I've never had the food in my body long enough to get food poisoning from it. Your friend must have very sturdy intestines.

  • CE||

    Toxic Hell was our term.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Taco Hell, Taco Swill, Toxic Swill, Toxic Hell, etc.

  • μ Aggressor||

    Toxic smell

  • GILMORE™||

    Town in suburban NY my mom lives in is absurd like this. They basically made it impossible for any business to move in that they felt might either attract, "customers from outside town" (so no entertainment or bars), or which would diminish the 'upscale' appearance they wanted to project (so nothing practical, like "hardware store" or "kinkos"). A friend ran a bike shop which did surprisingly well for a while, but ended up having to move because the owners got pressured to not renew their lease by the neighboring stores.

    the town center is basically a mishmash of boutique flower shops, jewelry shops, real estate agencies*, overpriced sandwich / coffee/ dessert shops, upscale fashion, etc. Half the stores are money-losing vanity projects owned by friends of people on the village board.

    (basically, rich housewives who want something to do during the day while lawyer/doctor-hubby rakes in the skrill; so they have a pottery shop which their friends occasionally make pity-purchases from)

    its like Sim City, Fran Drescher edition

    (*real estate is really the core underlying issue; the reason its a potemkin village is because the entire local economy relies on supporting skyrocketing home prices)

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Sim City, Fran Drescher edition

    I'd play that.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I know I only ever play The Sims to recreate The Nanny.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    I don't even wanna know what subgenre of vore that is.

  • Citizen X - #6||

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I knew in my heart before I clicked that it was going to be Seanbaby. And I am so happy it was.

    One of my earliest introductions to internet humor way back in the late 90s.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Seanbaby is still awesome, even though i don't think he updates his site anymore. He writes like one article a year for Cracked and just lives off of his Calculords money, i guess.

  • MrStarbuck||

    Seanbaby does board game reviews at http://www.goinganalogshow.com/

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I knew in my heart before I clicked that it was going to be Seanbaby. And I am so happy it was.

    One of my earliest introductions to internet humor way back in the late 90s.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    All right, BUCS, what is your reddit username?

  • Cynical Asshole||

    My guess is he's either the one with the deleted username:

    [deleted]
    90 points·
    1 year ago
    ·edited 1 year ago

    Oh you don't want to get me started. I've been called "Sims Hitler", "Sims Stalin", "Sims Kim Jong Il", and "Sims Mengele" by people who found out about my in-game experiments. If AI becomes sentient, I'm going to be put on trial for war crimes. So, here are a few of my experiments:
    ...

    And it gets worse from there (not putting the whole thing here because of the character limit).

    Or kitaro53085:

    kitaro53085
    3 points·
    1 year ago
    ...
    My Sim was something of a mad scientist. So I decided that he should clone his girlfriend to have a live-in servant and WooHoo partner. Unfortunately, I didn't realize that clones arrive as babies, rather than the same age as the source Sim. So now he's raising a baby clone of his girlfriend. This is too much work, managing a job and baby at the same time. So he decides to just marry his girlfriend and make her stay home to take care of her own baby clone. Problem solved!

    Until the clone eventually reaches the teen stage, at which point the wife and clone fall in love. Well... things progressed and now they're all in a bizarre polyamorous love triangle with my sim, his wife, and her teenage clone.
  • ||

    That sounds deviant and disgusting! Please go on.

  • BYODB||

    Cracked.com died, let us not exhume their corpse.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    I wouldn't just play it.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    (basically, rich housewives who want something to do during the day while lawyer/doctor-hubby rakes in the skrill; so they have a pottery shop which their friends occasionally make pity-purchases from

    Amusingly enough, this is how the Kris Jenner filled her time (apparently she owned some sort of boutique clothes shop) until Kim's sex video came out and she got the bright idea to do a reality television series as a way to exploit the attention for bux.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Everyone wants to build walls.

  • creech||

    Yeah, who knew that Trumpistas had taken over Royal Oak, MI.? Next, they will be telling residents they can't spend their income outside the limits of whatever town they earned it in.

  • SIV||

    That sounds like Highlands, NC. Plenty of "resort wear" but so spinning tackle

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Spinning Tackle was my nickname when I frequented Black's Beach.

  • ||

    the town center is basically a mishmash of boutique flower shops, jewelry shops, real estate agencies*, overpriced sandwich / coffee/ dessert shops, upscale fashion, etc. Half the stores are money-losing vanity projects owned by friends of people on the village board.

    That's progress for you I suppose.

  • Sevo||

    "...the town center is basically a mishmash of boutique flower shops, jewelry shops, real estate agencies*, overpriced sandwich / coffee/ dessert shops, upscale fashion, etc. Half the stores are money-losing vanity projects owned by friends of people on the village board..."

    Nevada City, CA. You can't move a brick on a building without several 'citizen reviews', and don't bother looking for a grocery store.
    But 3 miles west is Grass Valley where one of the largest gold mines is still located (although not active); it's what made Nevada City and where every Nevada City resident goes for everything they need outside of a $6 cup of joe.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    (*real estate is really the core underlying issue; the reason its a potemkin village is because the entire local economy relies on supporting skyrocketing home prices)

    Sounds like typical Suburbia Hell.

  • esteve7||

    So.... who the fuck are you to say you don't think that's what your town wants? Fuck off, slaver. If people don't want it they won't shop there.

    Like the fucking petty tyrants stopping walmart from moving in. You only need to stop them because you know people will shop there, so you are imposing your own will on people.

    Again, fuck off, slavers

  • Paper Wasp||

    I guess he liked it better when the space was unoccupied for 20 years? That's what's so gobsmacking about this. You'd think this snobby little ass would be salivating at the thought of the extra tax the city was going to make off all those stoner beer purchases. You'd think he'd figure out that occupied retail space > unoccupied retail space. But no.

  • CE||

    If the Pieology Pizzeria just a block down the street can sell beer, it's hard to understand why the Taco Bell Cantina can't.

    That's easy -- soccer moms go to Pieology. Poor people and stoners go to Taco Bell.

    Seriously though, what's the problem? Chipotle sells beer. So does Rubios. So does Taco Bueno. Those aren't exactly haute cuisine places.

    One small Mexican restaurant I used to live near couldn't get a liquor license from the city, so the owner gave everyone a free glass of beer with their meal if they wanted it. Best enchiladas in town, but the owner was too poor to pay off the city council.

  • Robert||

    Seems a simple enough fix would be to make enough superficial changes that it's no longer a Taco Bell but Taco Something Else With Liquor. Unless it's actually tacos the officials object to.

  • Robert||

    We know if there's $ to be made, it won't just be left on the table. The owner just has to take on the right partners. Everybody wins.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Being a city commissioner doesn't give you the right to control all the decisions that people make within the boundaries of your jurisdiction—and it certainly doesn't give you right to discriminate against a business that doesn't appear to have done anything wrong in favor of other businesses that you just happen to like better.

    Well... yes it does, otherwise there would be no incentive to become city commissioner.

  • Eidde||

    Stagger for the border.

  • Just Say'n||

    True story: there is a restaurant near me called "The Pink Taco" and all the sophisticates eat there. Either they don't know what that means or they don't care. I just don't get why the restaurant isn't getting SJW'd. I think maybe because the restaurant caters to rich white liberals, which is the core constituency of the SJW set.

    I am aware that this is completely off topic and has nothing to do with the article

  • Eidde||

    "I am aware that this is completely off topic and has nothing to do with the article"

    Ooh, you think that makes your comment *special!* Just like a large proportion of comments on these articles.

  • Just Say'n||

    Bitchiness is not next to godliness

  • Shirley Knott||

    Don't say that where Hera can hear you, you'll wind up in the middle of next week with a new birthmark in the shape of a goddess's palm.

  • Chipper Jones||

    Pink Taco actually had the high bid on naming rights for what ultimately became University of Phoenix Stadium in Arizona but the NFL said no way.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    If true that's the best thing I've heard all day.

    Here in Denver, the reason Sports Authority Field is still called that even though Sports Authority went bankrupt a couple of years ago is largely because the leading bidder for naming rights was/is a pot dispensary.

  • ||

    True story: there is a restaurant near me called "The Pink Taco" and all the sophisticates eat there.

    So, either your Mom or your sister is a slut or you're a cuck, I'll let you choose.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    Is a pussy hat de rigueur in that establishment? Sounds like it should be.

  • gormadoc||

    No, pussy hats aren't okay anymore. They're pink and that marginalizes POC.

    Seriously.

  • Linux||

    I thought Taco Bell was for after you were already drunk and wanted to eat something, anything, before going home. I guess being able to get my alcohol there would keep me from making the additional stop so there's that.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Separation of commerce and state. Think we need that.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    How would politicians get rich?

  • ||

    Non-profits, just like they do now.

  • sarcasmic||

    Exempting themselves from things like insider trading laws.

  • leninsmummy||

    Yes. Maybe the next time around.

  • Rich||

    letting Taco Bell serve alcoholic drinks "didn't fit with the city's vision"

    Apparently it's not *double* vision.

    Seriously, FFS!

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    "If a legal business or individual follows the proper procedures, government rules should be fair to everyone," says Jarrett Skorup, director of communications for the Mackinac Center, a Michigan-based think tank.

    What's it like to get by on your looks, Jarrett?

    This comment brought to you by Unicorn Abattoir, proud member of Hihn's enemies list..

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    Wow; I am relatively new here and had no idea that existed. What do I need to do to find my name in those lights? If it's just insulting Hihn, I've been suggesting for some time that he suffers from a legitimate mental illness, at least a clinical personality disorder. He certainly seems to enjoy scathing rebukes, and I suspect he gets off on them as would a an adolescent borderline who cuts themselves. There may even be a sexual aspect to this [let's not get into details on that lest it only lead to more undesirable behavior].

    Any other ideas, other than to continue to call out is incessant deflection, straw men, and forays into a realm of thought [sic] that bears no resemblance to logic?

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Accuse him of being a Mary Stack sockpuppet. Half his bitching on that page seemed to be aimed at people not believing he's the real Michael Hihn.

  • sarcasmic||

    Will the real Mike Hihn please stand up, please stand up, please stand up...

  • Mr. Gus||

    His list seems relatively new.

  • Freddy the Jerk||

    Refer to him as an elected dumbfuck?

  • Half-Virtue, Half-Vice||

    I wanted to Tbell for lunch, is this a sign?

  • Half-Virtue, Half-Vice||

    Mexican Pizza, Cheesy Gordita Crunch, and Chicken Quesadilla.

    The holy Mexican trinity.

  • sarcasmic||

    Being a city commissioner doesn't give you the right to control all the decisions that people make within the boundaries of your jurisdiction—and it certainly doesn't give you right to discriminate against a business that doesn't appear to have done anything wrong in favor of other businesses that you just happen to like better.

    What's the point of having power if you can't abuse it?

  • Tony||

    I have trouble imagining eating Taco Bell with a margarita. The usual pisswater beer or vodka+water cocktail at 4 a.m., sure.

  • Freddy the Jerk||

    Kinda like eating it while dressed in a tux. Just incongruous.

  • sarcasmic||

  • Cynical Asshole||

    City Commissioner Kyle Dubuc tells the Free Press that letting Taco Bell serve alcoholic drinks "didn't fit with the city's vision" and that official preferred to give licenses to "locally managed, local concepts."

    Sounds like typical hipster-ish snobbery. Basically this assclown wants to turn main street into Sodosopa.

  • No Longer Amused||

    Sounds like a slam-dunk lawsuit. Let's hope they go for damages.

  • sarcasmic||

    Can't beat city hall.

  • Freddy the Jerk||

    Maybe not, but you can definitely flatten it with the right stolen earthmoving equipment.

    Note to Preet: That was a joke.

  • Longtobefree||

    Well, I would doubt the business acumen of someone who gets 3/4 of a million dollars into a business venture before figuring out what licenses are required, and obtaining them.
    If you are going to do something that depends on the good graces of power mad politicians, for Pete's sake pass out the bribes first, not after the fact. That way you have a little bit of leverage.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    I was assuming the $750,000 included the bribes.

  • Shirley Knott||

    Only if you got receipts.
    I mean seriously, who pays a bribe and trusts that the politician will stay bought?
    Pay a little now, the rest when the paperwork is done. Officer Bubba will come around weekly for the ongoing payments.

  • ||

    I thought since the Franchise Wars all Restaurants were Taco Bell.

  • μ Aggressor||

    The same place was denied one in downtown madison, assholes. Whatever this place will probably suck, but it deserves a chance

  • μ Aggressor||

    I'm not above eating taco bell when the mood strikes, a margarita to go with it might be good. So pissed when I heard they denied it here; I think they're appealing (like that's going to fly)

  • IceTrey||

    In the future all restaurants are Taco Bell.

  • Duelles||

    Buy local! Straight out of the Communist Manifesto. What else could we think of when we think "Michigan" the purpose is to destroy or inhibit major industry from succeeding. Go Michigan!!

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online