One of the recommendations from the Project DTO visioning process included engaging various stakeholder groups, including restaurants and nightlife, to identify challenges facing downtown’s economy.
During our meetings, an impediment for small restaurateurs – those doing some of the most creative culinary work in the industry – was identified. We learned they were prohibited from offering full service bars (with liquor) due to state alcoholic beverage licensing restrictions, notably the Special Food Service (SFS) license (formerly SRX).
In an effort to combat this barrier and increase the vibrancy and growth of downtown Orlando, the City of Orlando’s Downtown Development Board sought legislation to reduce the license threshold for those businesses located within the Downtown Restaurant Area.
It is with much excitement we make you aware that Governor Rick Scott signed into law House Bill 1447 which enacts changes to the SFS license. This legislation removes many of the challenges downtown restaurants faced in size and seating requirements when seeking to offer full liquor options.
Our objective of becoming the nation’s highest quality urban environment requires that we continue to ensure a better tomorrow for our businesses and residents. This is a significant win for downtown Orlando as we look ahead for what this means for the future of dining in downtown. Restaurants will now be able to more easily enhance the customer’s dining experience, we will see new restaurants open, and the area will continue to receive recognition for offering world-class dining and entertainment offerings.
On behalf of the City of Orlando’s Downtown Development Board, please allow us to express our appreciation to all involved in this effort. Special thanks are directed to Scott Joseph, who chaired the Restaurant Stakeholder Group, Representative Mike Miller who sponsored this bill, and Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer for his unwavering support and guidance.