Later bar times affect most restaurants

Patrons crowd Jimmy John’s after 1 a.m., during extended hours.

By Narges Attaie, NewsNetNebraska

Most restaurants in Lincoln are extending their hours to suit the new 2 a.m. closing times for bars in town.

Some, such as Jimmy John’s, must stretch out their schedules to adapt to local bar-closing practices by corporate mandate.

“We knew weeks before that if the bar time changed, we had to stay open an hour later because that’s Jimmy John’s policy,” said Scott Bridge, who manages the sub shop outlet at 101 N. 14th St. “According to the policy we have to stay open past one hour after closing time if we’re in the district.”

Lincoln City Council voted in August to give bars the option to stay open until 2 a.m. Most bars took advantage of the opportunity, and most – but not all — restaurants are willing to follow suit.  The extra hours went into place on Sept. 17.

One of the holdouts is Yia Yia’s. Manager Scott Thomas, sticking with the shorter hours, says last call at the bar-restaurant will continue to be 12:30 a.m. The eatery will stick with its 1 a.m. shutdown time.

For some restaurants, the change will just extend their normal long summer hours. Burger King, for instance, operates a late-night drive-through window. Its restaurant on 2504 O St. normally stays open until 3 a.m. during the summer and now will stay open during the winter because of the new bar closing time, says manager Mike Fisher.

A couple of barhoppers stop in front Lazzari’s before going in.

Lazzari’s Pizza on 1434 O St is adding an hour. It made the move on the date the new bar-opening law went into effect, accommodating hungry barflies.  “It’s a busy time for us,” said manager T.J. Martin. “Of course we’re going to stay open.”

Gourmet Grill, too, is choosing to say open an hour later than its normal 1 a.m. closing time because it cannot afford not to stay open said one of two owners, Ahmed Sultani.  He said plenty of patrons want to eat after they’re done drinking.

Lincolnites crowd the streets.

Students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln are happy about the restaurants that are choosing to stay open later.

Graduate Student Baseer Ali, 25, who used to live in Chicago was surprised that the bars here were only open until 1 a.m.

“In Chicago the earliest a bar closed was 2 a.m., but almost all bars stayed open until 4 a.m,” said Ali. “We had fast food restaurants that stayed open until 6 a.m. and reopened at 8 a.m.”

Miguel Beltran, 21, junior pre-med major said that he likes the option of staying out later but does not plan on staying out until the bars close at 2 a.m.

“It would be nice if the restaurants that were normally open at one would stay open later,” said Beltran. “But I don’t blame them for not wanting to work that late, I know I wouldn’t want to.”

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