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Oro Valley restaurant says they didn’t do anything wrong after liquor license suspended

ORO VALLEY, Ariz. - Dining in is not an option for restaurants as Gov. Doug Ducey's Executive Order said carry out options are for the safety of others during the coronavirus pandemic.

Chuy's Mesquite Broiler restaurant in Oro Valley has been considered failing to comply with the executive order.

Last month, eating inside a restaurant was a typical Friday night.

Now, it goes against the Governor's Executive Order and Chuy's is paying for a crime they say they did not commit.

It all started with complaints that people were dining in at Chuy's Mesquite Broiler, located off Oracle Road in Oro Valley.

"We would give them their to-go food," said CJ Evenson, owner of Chuy's. "Majority of them would leave but some, like the regulars, would stay and eat and have a drink. Things like that."

The Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses & Control determined those complaints were not an isolated event but occurred over several days.

The department sent News 4 Tucson a statement that said:

"The Department seeks voluntary compliance from its clients prior to taking enforcement action. In this case, Department officials made multiple requests for the business to comply with the executive order, but the establishment did not do so."

Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses & Control

Now, Chuy's liquor license is suspended which means they are unable to sell alcohol, only food and non-alcoholic beverages.

"It was not soft by any means. It was kind of abrupt," said Evenson. "Like we were doing something a lot worse than we were actually doing."

The customers were not eating inside, Evenson said, it was only on the patio which was the customer's choice.

Evenson said he would never just force them to leave.

News 4 Tucson's Allie Potter asked Evenson if he felt like he did anything wrong.

"No. God no. Especially in this business, the customer service business is all about that camaraderie, being at the neighborhood bar and grill," Evenson said. "Being friends and knowing the guy's name and what he likes to drink."

The suspension will remain in effect until a hearing is held or the license department decides to lift it.

Evenson said he has a court date on May 19 and is hoping to get his liquor license back.

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Allie Potter

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