Roy’s Bachelor Lounge at 3105 E. 13th St., near 13th and Hillside, may have to close down now that Wichita City Council members have reclassified its drinking license.
Its teary-eyed owner, Leroy Thompson, left frustrated and dejected after the council ruled this morning that the business doesn’t serve enough food to be considered a “drinking establishment/restaurant.” Under city rules, businesses with that designation must be able to prove that at least 30 percent of their sales are food.
The council’s decision reclassifies Roy’s Bachelor Lounge as a “drinking establishment,” which means it can only allow people 21 and over in. But the business doesn’t have the proper zoning to be a drinking establishment and has tried and failed in the past to obtain conditional use zoning, said Knute Fraser, who represented Thompson this morning. “He’s basically out of business,” he said.
After noting three reported aggravated battery cases on the business’s property, Wichita Police detectives stopped by the business May 28 and found that the kitchen was closed. They ordered an audit, requiring Thompson to hand over receipts proving his business was selling at least 30 percent food. Thompson, who said he had fallen ill with a stroke and his cook had been hospitalized with heart problems, couldn’t provide receipts, just totals that he said his employees gave him each day. Thompson failed to respond within the designated 15 days. Police called the poor accounting suspicious and said the numbers don’t add up and that the only receipts supplied showed the business didn’t purchase very much food.
Thompson acknowledged the lack of receipts, but said he is certain more than 30 percent of sales were food. He broke down and cried as he explained that he is in poor health and that his cook had been hospitalized and had a triple bypass surgery. He said no crimes occurred at his business for years, and that recent incidents happened in the parking lot. “The place didn’t become a problem area,” he said. “There was no shootings, no cuttings, none of that stuff at my establishment because I spent the extra money to ensure I had the proper security.”
Council member Lavonta Williams, whose district includes the business, said that the law is clear and that there’s no evidence of 30 percent food sales. She and Mayor Carl Brewer said that all businesses will be held to the same standard. They voted unanimously to reclassify the license.