CAVE CREEK, AZ (3TV/CBS5) -- Since 1935, Harold’s Cave Creek Corral has welcomed a whole host of VIPs, from politicians to actors to recording artists. But recently, it was a visit from the Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses that had a big impact.
“I got the call from the inspector saying, 'We are asking you to voluntarily close.' I was surprised and I said, 'Why are you asking us to voluntarily close?' He said, 'Well you guys are a bar,' and I said, 'We’ve been a restaurant since my dad bought it in 1987,'” said Harold’s owner Daniel Piacquadio.
Like many older restaurants, says Piacquadio, they’ve operated under the same series 6 liquor license for decades. But technically, it classifies them as primarily a bar.
"Unfortunately now with the subjective enforcement the Department of Liquor is not taking that into consideration,” said Piacquadio. He said nearly 60 percent of their sales are food, yet the state department of liquor licenses considers them a bar. Now that their dining room is closed, they’re losing more than $1,000 a day.
Piacquadio is appealing to local leaders and the governor’s office to clarify the orders. His 70 employees have been furloughed, yet again.
"That’s who we are really fighting for, getting our team back and making sure our employees have a stable income,” said Piacquadio.
Governor Doug Ducey and state leaders announced pushing back the opening of schools in Arizona in the fall due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The Department of Liquor Licensees has responded to Harold’s claims, saying: “Bars must close under the governor’s executive order. It is not enough to have a full menu and provide food service.”
In the meantime, Gov. Ducey’s executive orders keeping bars closed expires next Monday and there’s no telling whether he’s going to extend it or not.
The Valley of the Sun is also the Valley of Transplants and not everyone wants to go to a bar where it's a sea of red.
During football season, Harold's is well known as a Steelers destination. Affectionately dubbed “Heinz Field West” during the NFL season, Harold’s Corral welcomes hundreds of Pittsburgh fans. Everyone wears black and gold, the DJ plays Steelers songs, and the menu is transformed into everything Steelers Nation would want.