Jennings business continues to wait for liquor license even after council signs off

Published: Sep. 15, 2023 at 10:17 PM CDT
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Jennings, Mo. (KMOV) - A business in North St. Louis County is still waiting for a liquor license after council recently approved the license.

The City of Jennings city council recently voted to grant The Gavel, a food, bar and event space business, its liquor license. The business has been operating under a miscellaneous license since it opened in 2022.

The Gavel co-owner Anthony Francis told First Alert 4 the city issued the miscellaneous license knowing the businesses intended to sell alcohol. The city is requiring the business to get a liquor license, but the process has been stalled for months.

According to Jennings council member Nadia Quinn, it took the city months to get The Gavel’s license request included in the city’s planning and zoning meetings. Once the request made it through the planning and zoning department and The Gavel got inspections completed, council approved the request at last week’s emergency council meeting. Quinn is of the five council members who voted in favor of approving The Gavel’s liquor license.

The Gavel has already received its liquor licenses from the State of Missouri and St. Louis County.

“The expectation was we would receive it by now,” Francis said. “We’ve met with the mayor in private meetings three times at least where we were given assurances.”

First Alert 4 filmed as The Gavel’s owners visited Jennings city hall Friday. The owners were told by staff that neither Mayor Gary Johnson nor deputy clerk Keisha Hicks were available to assist the owners.

“Just saying the person is not in or ‘we can’t do that right now’ and leaving it at that happens quite often and it’s unacceptable in my opinion,” Quinn told First Alert 4.

Quinn said she has consistently tried to get city business handled through deputy clerk Hicks. This is one of the responses Quinn received via email from Hicks:

“Your questions and concerns need to be addressed to the mayor not me. I honestly feel like you are putting me in the middle of something that has nothing to do with me. I do not make the decisions Councilwoman Quinn.”

Quinn said Mayor Johnson has not addressed her concerns with The Gavel receiving its liquor license.