Mills Town Council Renews Liquor License For Popular Pizza Place
An increasingly popular small pizza restaurant and bar in Mills won a year lease on life after the Mills Town Council approved the renewal of its liquor license on Wednesday.
Bid's Place owner David Florence said the council's decision was bittersweet.
"It is a victory, it's just a little bittersweet," Florence said.
"This has been very hard for me, very hard on my family, very hard on our employees not knowing what the outcome was going to be if they even had a job come November first," he said.
A year ago, the council awarded Bid's Place, 4701 W. Yellowstone Highway, a full liquor license that allowed it to have a bar, serve alcohol with meals, sell package liquor, offer catered meals, partner with other businesses such as tobacconists for spirit-and-cigar tastings, and other special events.
The council said it would review the business' progress to determine whether it should keep the full liquor license or instead be given a more restrictive bar and grill license.
This full liquor license was the last one in Mills, and Mayor Seth Coleman said the town council has the responsibility to make sure it goes to the business that would create the most sales tax revenue for the city.
While the restaurant had been in business for a year, the small speakeasy-style bar called Archie's opened four months ago. Flanagan told the council Archie's is decorated in 1920s speakeasy decor, it can accommodate only 14 people, nearly all the alcohol it serves is made in Wyoming, it's a quiet place to talk, and does not appeal to people who want to get sloppy drunk.
In order to renew the license, the town council wanted to know information especially about how much Bid's Place sold in food compared to alcohol.
The council wanted the information in August. Florence didn't provide it then, so the council tabled the action until Wednesday.
During the public hearing about the proposed renewal of the license, Bid's Place attorney John Henley said the business has provided a lot of information, kept expanding, drawn hundreds of supporters who signed petitions.
"If there's one place that's done it right, it's Bid's Place," Henley said.
Florence told the council he grew up in the area and wanted to offer something unique. "Everything I've done has been to improve the Town of Mills."
Coleman complimented Florence's work, and asked why a bar and grill license would not work.
Florence responded that he would not be able to offer catering or events such as a murder mystery theater after the restaurant closes at 8 p.m.
Some critics of the possible revocation of the liquor license said the town council was asking for too much information too fast, and the council knew another business behind the scenes wanted the license.
Others were less charitable with one saying, "you're betting on Dave to fail," and another saying, "this tells me you don't care about the Town of Mills."
After the hour-long public hearing, the council went into executive decision to confer with its attorney.
The council reconvened and unanimously voted to extend the liquor license for a year.
Coleman said after the meeting the council reviewed the legal options during the executive session. Council will review the license a year from now. He expects Bid's Place to have the appropriate data and he hopes they succeed.
"I wanted to make sure we followed the process through, to make the most responsible decision for the resources of the town," he said.