Downtown Jonesboro Restaurant Approved for Liquor Permit

MARCH 18, 2004 - Posted at 7:28 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - There's a new private club coming to Craighead County.

Piero's Main Street Bistro in downtown Jonesboro has been granted a liquor license from the state Alcoholic Beverage & Control Division.  Piero's is now the 13th private club in the county.

The five members of the ABC's board are all appointed by Governor Huckabee.  However, they are not influenced by the Governor's office.

The attorney representing those people opposed to additional private clubs says he believes the board members had their minds made up before everyone arrived for a hearing to appeal a denial that was issued the first time it was presented to the committee.

Six hours of debate led to yesterday's decision.

"We're going to be an asset to the's wonderful," said Piero's owner Piero Trimarchi.  Board member J.J. Vigneault complimented the Piero's presentation.  "It was a good permit.  These people are good citizens, they obviously have a product there that has some support."

However, opponents of the issue say they may have lost the battle, but claim the war is far from over.  Reverend Tommy Stacy of Jonesboro's North Main Baptist Church says he was blindsided by a new law that may have hurt the anti-liquor force's chances, and promptly fired a verbal shot a local lawmakers.  "We feel like we were sold out by our legislators.  They did not let us know about the change in the law.

The new law in question simply expands the defenition of a private club.  It was sponsored by a proponent of the liquor-by-the-drink issue, and it states that a place of hospitality can be considered a non-profit organization and worthy of a liquor license.  "I'm going to be very careful about who I vote for," Stacy explained.  "Benton is a dry county.  It has 60 private clubs, and I can see that happening in Jonesboro in the near future."