North Carolina

A rural town 40 minutes from Charlotte wanted margaritas, so they passed a new law

A rural town 40 minutes from Charlotte wanted margaritas, so they passed a new law

Photo courtesy of Los Jacubes Mexican Restaurant

In the tiny town of Rockwell, Rowan County, you can now order a cocktail, thanks to a voter referendum and one Mexican restaurant’s determination to serve margaritas.

“There are big changes ahead,” says Pedro Saldana, the manager of Los Jacubes, a Mexican restaurant in Rockwell that led the prosecution for the new law. “Thank God for that as we prayed … and thank you to all the friends and customers who have supported me.”

Driving the news: Los Jacubes has asked the Rockwell City Council to add a referendum on spirits for drinking earlier this year, WSOC reported.

  • Once it was on the ballot, the restaurant used signs and social media posts to urge customers to vote.
  • “Today is the day!” The restaurant posted on Facebook on Tuesday morning. “Rockwell residents: This is your chance to enjoy a margarita at our restaurant.”

Zoom out: North Carolina is a Bible Belt state with enacted alcohol regulations in place for over 80 years, although lawmakers have been in recent years splinter on some of its Prohibition-era laws.

The big picture: More than 40 years ago, Charlotte voters approved their own liquor ordinance, allowing mixed drinks to be served in local restaurants. Now Rockwell is allowed to raise a glass too.

[Related Axios guide: 15 best cocktail bars in Charlotte]

Photo courtesy of Los Jacubes Mexican Restaurant

Using the numbers: Their campaign worked – 541 Rockwell voters (69%) voted for the Margs, 244 voted against.

What’s next: Saldana, who has lived in Rockwell for over 10 years since immigrating from his native Mexico, is still working out the details of the new Margarita menu. He tells Axios that selling cocktails will be huge to the restaurant’s success.

  • “I’ve already had a lot of phone calls from customers asking when we’re going to start,” he tells Axios. “I just tell them wait a bit and I promise it will come.”

The bottom line: Cocktails are an integral part of Charlotte today. Liquor-by-the-drink is one ingredient among many driving the city’s growth.

  • It has helped make our restaurant scene “world class”.
  • It has enabled thousands of happy hours.
  • It has supported our local restaurants.

Time will tell how this referendum affects Rockwell — a city of just over 2,000 people — but in the meantime, let’s hope our neighbors 40 minutes northeast enjoy their margaritas.

Go deeper: Read more about the Charlotte election results from the 2022 Midterms here.

[Related Axios guide: 13 spots in Charlotte to get a margarita]

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