LANSING-At least one local business owner is looking to stay competitive with establishments in neighboring townships in expanding services and the budding trend could play a major factor in attracting others of its kind to the town of 150.
Pie on the Mountain owner Matt Cordell said his small, but popular pizzeria is looking to begin selling craft beer and wine to complement his hand tossed house specials once the annual leaf season kicks in this fall.
Cordell has found himself going through the standard application process to serve beer and wine. Unlike other townships, Cordell has also explored qualifications for exemptions in serving in a dry area.
Cordell has often heard comments from his customer base about how they wish his pizzeria served beer or wine to accentuate their dinning experiences.
Expanding their offerings could at play a part in avoiding extensive layoffs during the duller winter months when tourism drops off and locals remain home bound, said Cordell.
Some of those residents stricken with cabin fever might be inclined to venture to destinations that allow them to pick-up a six pack of beer or a drink with dinner. Instead of traveling 45 minutes out of town for a cold one, Cordell would like to give them the option to simply drive down from Horse Creek or Creston to quench their thirst instead of going to Boone or further off the mountain.
“Why do you think there are no chains outside of West Jefferson or Jefferson?” Cordell used as an example. “Part of its population, but if you can’t sell alcohol, it’s less attractive to be there when 10 miles down the road, your competitor can.”
What Cordell is not going for is the bar appeal. He wants to maintain his restaurant’s family friendly atmosphere while still expanding his customer base.
“We will have quality local stuff,” he said. “Wines from North Carolina…Beer from the foothills brewery. We are not going for the $1 PBR’s. We are a family restaurant. We would just like to be able to offer a drink when they come out.”
Much to do was made last year about the prospect of liquor by the drink being sold in the town after it was discussed by some community members that state statutes allow certain businesses near national scenic parkways to sell alcohol in some instances.
And Lansing did apply for a North Carolina Department of Transportation Scenic Byway designation last August that would run through town. The proposed route would run from NC 194/88 at Smethport to the intersection in Lansing, up Big Horse Creek Rd. to Whenlin Ridge Rd. to Farmers Store and on to the Virginia state line.
State statutes allow certain businesses near national scenic parkways to sell alcohol in some instances. That includes mixed drinks of the sort that can usually only be sold in North Carolina in cities or towns that hold a vote on the matter.
Lansing leaders said multiple times that the sell of alcohol was not their goal in receiving such a designation. State leaders later said, despite the byway designation, the tiny community wouldn’t meet the requirements for a liquor exemption.
The state does offer exceptions to liquor laws that allow some tourism impacted businesses like hotels or restaurants to sell alcohol in otherwise “dry” communities.
But Agnes Stevens, public affairs director for the North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission, said those wouldn’t apply to Lansing.
The town meets one requirement. Lansing is located in a county where one town, West Jefferson, allows the sale of malt beverages or unfortified wine.
But it fails the second requirement – that eligible businesses be located within “1.5 miles of the end or an entrance or exit ramp of a junction on a national scenic parkway.”
Reach Jesse Campbell at 336-846-7164.