January 17, 2007 - Posted at 9:02 p.m. CST
LITTLE ROCK, AR - In a three to one vote Wednesday, the Alcohol Beverage Control Division voted to grant the Fuji Japanese Steakhouse a liquor permit.
Familiar faces opposing the sale of alcohol in Craighead County sat before the ABC board in Little Rock on Wednesday. The board sided with Jonesboro's Fuji Japanese Steakhouse, citing its numerous letters of support, the owner's background in restaurant ownership and management and the nearly 1000 signatures of support.
"We need to get ready to re-design the restaurant for the public," said Fuji owner Michelle Yang, "You know from private and non private."
"It's easy for them to vote and change our county and change the lifestyle of our county. They don't have to live with it," said Steve Jacobson, pastor of Friendly Hope Baptist Church in Jonesboro.
Chairman of the ABC Board Ron Fuller notes the absence of some elected officials. Officials the opposition say are also against the sale of alcohol in the county.
"We use to see a lot of elected officials we used to see all sorts of business, leadership and what have you that were opposing permits," said Fuller, "Now, it's flipped over."
However, Craighead County Sheriff Jack McCann did go before the board.
"I just opposed any new liquor permits in Craighead County," said McCann.
Some opposed to alcohol sales even suggested an economic boycott.
"If we could get all of the churches in Jonesboro together who oppose private clubs to encourage their members strongly not to attend any business that is a private club, I think it would have an impact," said Jacobson.
"As our business is growing we should have more fund to have the charity for the community and bring in more revenue and more employees," said Yang.