Local restaurants are beginning to see repercussions from an ordinance recently passed that allows restaurant alcohol sales on Sundays, and the effects seem to be similar for all.

O’Charley’s, at 815 Eastern Bypass, is only serving beer on Sundays, but is in the process of acquiring a liquor license, said restaurant manager Nicole Licursi.

“Sunday business has been very good,” she said. “So far, it’s had a pretty significant impact on our sales.”

Customers are beginning to come in earlier as well. “People try to get here in time to watch the games,” she said.

Kristie Hedrick, a manager at Banana’s, 1101 Kim Kent Drive, said she has not seen an immediate monetary impact, but that Sunday business will eventually begin to increase.

“It’s still trying to catch on,” Hedrick said. “We’re still trying to advertise and let people know.”

Many customers are excited about being able to watch Sunday sports and be served at the bar, Hedrick said.

“We’re hoping that Sundays will be one of our good days as far as bar sales go,” she said. “We’re also hoping that (Sunday alcohol sales) will bring back some of the people we lost from the smoking ban.”

Beer sales were first featured about two weeks ago at Red Lobster, 828 Eastern Bypass. The restaurant later obtained a liquor license and are offering both choices to their Sunday customers, said manager Todd Sowney.

The extra day of alcohol sales will increase the overall bill average for the restaurant, but Sowney does not expect Sunday alcohol sales alone to attract more customers, he said.

“There hasn’t been a huge increase in alcohol sales, but whatever we sell this year is going to help because this is the first time since we’ve been (in Richmond) that we’re able to sell alcohol on Sunday,” Sowney said.

The passage of the Sunday restaurant alcohol sales has given one downtown restaurant owner a profitable reason to be open on Sunday.

Madison Garden restaurant, 152 N. Madison Ave., which is a long-standing landmark of downtown Richmond, has always been closed on Sundays.

“Now we can give customers the choice of being served alcohol on Sundays,” said restaurant owner Tom Thilman. “We have people come in (on Sunday) and order a great, big breakfast, but some people want to come in, eat wings and drink beer.”

The feature of Sunday alcohol sales is going over well with most of the restaurants’ customers, he said.

“Quite a few customers are very happy,” he said. “Some are just happy because we’re open and others are happy because they can come in, watch football and have the choice of alcohol. I’m as happy as can be. Now people have the choice, and that’s what it’s all about.”

Ronica Shannon can be reached at rshannon@richmondregister.com or 623-1669, Ext. 234.

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