Sunday Brunch Bill Not a Game-Changer for Rolesville and Surrounding Towns

Susan London • • September 2017

At the end of June, Governor Roy Cooper signed Senate Bill 155 into law, signaling a continued easing of Sunday “blue laws” across the country. While the bill covers various technicalities in regard to the transport of alcohol, most notable in the text is an amendment to the North Carolina General Statutes allowing Sunday alcohol sales in restaurants and retail stores starting at 10 a.m. instead of noon if a city or county adopts an ordinance allowing the change.

Los Tres Magueyes - Brunch Bill

Los Tres Magueyes Restaurant in Rolesville is one of just a handful of businesses that could potentially serve alcohol earlier
if Rolesville adopts a Brunch Bill ordinance. Photo by Susan London

Though many towns across North Carolina were quick to take advantage of the legislation, the issue wasn’t without controversy in smaller towns in a state where Sunday alcohol use has long been frowned upon. The Town of Nags Head, for example, ultimately passed the ordinance, but not without some dissent among members of the board of commissioners, though the dissent was not publicly tied to a religious objection.

Commissioners for the Town of Wake Forest voted 3-1 on July 18 in favor of moving alcohol sales to 10 a.m. Commissioner Greg Harrington cast the dissenting vote on moral grounds. The measure required a second reading on August 15 because the vote was not unanimous and commissioner Anne Reeve was absent for the July vote.

Some area municipalities and towns, including Rolesville and Zebulon, have no immediate plans to take up the issue at all. While generally the addition of two hours of allowable alcohol sales can mean considerable additional revenue, particularly in tourist areas, it’s not as pressing an issue for smaller towns.

Rolesville Mayor Frank Eagles said he hadn’t been approached by anyone, either business owners or board members, about the issue but that such an ordinance is something the town would look at if residents or establishments asked.

The general consensus among Rolesville commissioners race candidates who were reached for comment was in favor of adopting an ordinance if an individual or business requests the change. Therefore, as new businesses open in town, such a change will likely be something that is addressed as necessary in the future.

Currently, Los Tres Magueyes, Main Street Tavern, and Granite Falls Swim & Athletic Club serve alcohol. Los Tres Magueyes opens at 11:30 a.m. on Sundays, Main Street Tavern opens at 2 p.m., and Granite Falls opens at 1 p.m. The Food Lion grocery store could also be impacted to some extent by earlier sales of beer and wine.

Youngsville did pass an earlier-sales ordinance during the August 10 board meeting, where the item was on the consent agenda. While the town doesn’t currently have establishments that would be affected by the issue, the board is eliminating any barriers to future businesses that might want to sell alcohol.

Zebulon town manager Joe Moore said he has not heard from any business owners in regard to the issue one way or another, and Scott Benson of McLean’s Ole Time Café said it’s not really an issue for the restaurant. “All we serve is beer and wine,” he said, noting alcohol is not in high demand from patrons on Sunday mornings.

A manager at Fargo Cattle Company said the restaurant doesn’t do much business from alcohol sales on Sundays, noting the mostly church crowd isn’t typically looking to drink.