Chili’s cited for underage drinking violation


Sherry Li/The Daily Northwestern

Evanston’s Chili’s Grill and Bar is located at 1765 Maple Ave. Chili’s was cited for an underage drinking violation last week and may face a fine or suspension of their liquor license.

Nora Shelly, Reporter

Evanston police issued a violation for underage sale of an alcoholic beverage to Chili’s Grill and Bar last week.

The restaurant, 1765 Maple Ave., was found in violation March 30 of both state and city laws that prohibit the sale of alcohol to minors. The violation was issued during a biannual liquor law compliance check. A server failed to properly check identification of an underage individual sent in by law enforcement before selling them alcohol, according to an Evanston Police Department news release. The checks are performed twice a year to ensure establishments that sell alcohol are not selling to those who are underage.

“They just want to make sure that places that sell and serve alcohol are doing it responsibly,” Evanston police Cmdr. Joseph Dugan told The Daily. “No one is against the alcohol establishment, they just want them to be responsible.”

The server who served alcohol to the underage individual received a violation from the city and will likely be fined or will have to attend further training in alcohol safety, Dugan said. The violation the restaurant received was issued by the Illinois Liquor Control Commission. According to the Commission’s administrative code, possible consequences for Chili’s include a fine, suspension or revocation of the restaurant’s liquor license. The punishment for a first-time offense is typically a $500 fine and a one-day suspension of the establishment’s liquor license.

Chili’s denied request for comment, but Dugan said he does not recall the restaurant having a problem with underage drinking in the past.

EPD and the ILCC also tested 17 other Evanston restaurants, bars and grocery stores, but no others violated underage liquor laws. Dugan said zero to two establishments are usually found in violation each check.

During the checks, the under-21 individual attempts to purchase alcohol at the establishment. They are instructed to provide identification if asked, but if the employee fails to make this request, the establishment is then cited for underage alcohol sale.

Evanston does not have a huge problem with underage drinking, Dugan asid.

“It runs in spurts,” he said. “With there being a college in town it’s obviously a little more of an issue than for surrounding towns. It’s not really a nuisance problem or anything like that.”

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