Fat Slice Pizza, a restaurant located on Telegraph Avenue, will temporarily stop serving alcohol to customers after the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control suspended the business’s liquor license Thursday for allegedly selling alcoholic beverages to a minor.
In October 2016, ABC held a decoy operation at Fat Slice during which a police officer observed an undercover minor purchasing alcohol from an employee. This transaction marked the second time in the past three years Fat Slice Pizza has had its liquor license suspended by ABC for selling alcohol to a minor, according to ABC spokesperson John Carr.
In the past, ABC has given liquor license suspensions to other restaurants and businesses near campus. From December to January, ABC gave Mexican restaurant Remy’s two 25-day suspensions for alleged mishandling of alcohol, and the business recently closed its doors to customers.
ABC regularly conducts minor decoy operations in order to crack down on businesses with liquor licenses that sell alcoholic beverages to minors, according to ABC’s website.
In a minor decoy operation, individuals under 20 will attempt to buy alcohol from a business, with ABC investigators and police stationed nearby to monitor how employees handle the situation. If alcohol is sold to the decoy, “ABC will take administrative action” in the form of a fine, suspension of the alcohol license or even revocation of the license.
Fat Slice Pizza declined to comment on its alcohol-serving policies.
Employees at neighboring restaurants were not surprised to hear of Fat Slice’s license suspension. Some noted that a business has the responsibility to follow proper protocols during the sale of alcohol. Hector Rosso, general manager of Café Durant, has strict policies about checking IDs and sends his employees to a biannual fake ID training session held by the Bay Area Beverage Company.
The manager of local pizza joint Abe’s, Sari Sakwn, expressed a similar sentiment.
“The first one to blame is the merchant. … People who sell alcohol should be more careful,” Sakwn said.
Businesses selling alcohol near college campuses may struggle to identify minors with fake IDs daily, according to Rosso. Because fake IDs are easily obtainable and commonly distributed on college campuses, identifying each false ID is difficult, Rosso said, citing an occasion when one of his employees allegedly accidentally served alcohol to a minor after misreading the birth date on an ID card.
The ABC website states that decoy operations are “a valid tool of law enforcement to ensure that liquor licensees are complying with the law.”
Tramell Taylor, a customer at Fat Slice, said he believes that police instigated the suspension by sending decoys and that Fat Slice should not be held accountable.
“It’s not on the business. … I feel like they did their part,” Taylor said.
Several patrons of Fat Slice stated that they will continue to eat at the restaurant even though they will not be able to purchase alcohol.
Contact Christine Lee and Michelle Perales at [email protected].
A previous version of this article incorrectly referred to Abe’s Pizza by its former name, Blondie’s Pizza.