Olive Branch restaurant owner Demetrios Sotiropoulos is in the middle of a renovation of his Guyton establishment.
Once it’s done, he also has an expansion of the menu in mind and he hopes to be able to offer something else to his patrons — beer and wine by the glass.
As it stands, Guyton’s ordinances don’t allow that, though city council soon may hold a workshop to discuss amending the laws governing alcohol sales.
“I never thought it was possible until recently,” Sotiropoulos said, referring to the decisive victories in the liquor-by-the-drink referenda.
Sotiropoulos has no plans to seek permission to sell liquor by the drink.
“We just want to do beer and wine,” he said, “something to offer our customers.”
Sotiropoulos is expanding the menu from two pages to five pages as the restaurant also gets makeover. The offerings will include steaks, chops, rack of lamb and a mix of Mediterranean and American fare, and the Olive Branch wants to branch out into catering.
“We feel it would be nice to have a full-service restaurant,” he said.
The family has owned the Olive Branch since 1999, and Sotiropoulos said he doesn’t want to change the nature of the restaurant.
“It is a family restaurant,” he said. “We have no intentions of making it a bar. We want to offer a glass of wine or beer.”
The request Sotiropoulos made of the Guyton City Council on Monday night also stemmed from requests of his customers asking about it.
“About 90 percent of them,” he said of the number of his diners who have inquired about beer and wine service, “including a fair amount of them from the city workers.”
Sotiropoulos said Guyton city attorney Ramona Bartos is looking into the issue.
“Once the legalities are ironed out, the only thing holding us back is the day care two doors down,” he said.
Guyton has an ordinance regulating package sales of beer and wine, and Bartos is researching what would be necessary to allow liquor by the drink sales. According to Bartos, her preliminary work indicates that at a minimum an amendment to the existing ordinance would be needed to allow for beer and wine by the glass sales for on-premises consumption.
State statutes require a minimum distance between businesses that sell alcohol and schools, but Sotiropoulos doesn’t believe that will be an issue where the day care is concerned. He contends that a day care isn’t an educational facility.
The restaurant’s service hours will be 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, with summer hours on Thursday, Friday and Saturday going to 10 p.m.
Sotiropoulos said he hopes to be “up and running” with beer and wine service the day after a license is granted. But he also wants the restaurant to be ready — perhaps in another month.
“At that time, we’ll be through with the renovations,” he said.