CHIPLEY - In addition to tailgating foods such as chicken wings, cheese sticks, burgers and pizza, football fans will get brought into the red zone when watching their favorite teams score on seven wall-mounted flat-screen TVs at KC's Pizza & Grill.
Not new to the area, but with new owners - and new rules on alcohol sales - the restaurant was bustling with chatter from groups of customers that streamed in Thursday late afternoon.
"It's amazing the amount of revenue its been generating in the four hours a night - from 4 to 9 p.m. It's standing room only," said owner Scott Joiner, a Chipley native, who owns the business with his wife Kimberly.
"I think Chipley is missing an opportunity like this and we're glad to be here for it," he added. "And we're going to try to hang on to it as long as we can."
The Joiners purchased the restaurant, which has a seating capacity of 150 and is located at 684 Seventh St., back in January. It was also in January that the Joiners asked City of Chipley about alcohol limitations. And, based on the feedback, they added a partitioned section in their remodeling plans that included booths, tables and bar-style seating. On the far end stands a multi-tap commercial beer refrigerator.
"In anticipation of the alcohol ordinance passing, we felt we were very vocal in that since January and seen where it was going and went ahead rolled the dice and purchased this stuff," Joiner said. "We're going to offer draft," he said, noting the restaurant will also serve bottled beer and low alcohol content wines.
The restaurant has applied for its beer and wine license and expects approval soon.
Inquiries to City of Chipley to find out how many businesses have submitted requests to sale alcohol since the new amended ordinance was approved were not successful by time of press.
"Hopefully it pays dividends, but it's just going to be an added benefit - not really what we're structured for," Joiner added. "We want to sell food and have that as a perk to go with it."
With beer, in essence, on the backburner for the family's vision of what the eatery brings to the downtown table, the restaurant includes a diverse menu of appetizers, pizzas, subs and burgers, such as the signature Burnin' Vernon Burger from the original KC's, a range of desserts including Kimberly Joyner's in-house made tiramisu.
KC's sits just across the train tracks from a place of worship, and another around the corner. Prior to the unanimous approval of the amended alcohol ordinance on Aug. 14, beer and wine could not be on the menu at any restaurant in downtown Chipley.
The newly adopted and amended ordinance nixes the council's previous decision to restrict alcohol sales at restaurants from midnight to 7 a.m. daily and prohibit it on Sunday; instead, loosens that restriction to midnight to 4 a.m. daily, seven days a week. It also incorporates the county's distance rules which include no sale of alcohol within 500 feet of a school. Also, the ordinance establishes no restrictions to proximity to churches and parks, and restricts alcohol sales by bottle clubs to 1,000 feet from any church, public park, residence or school.
"We wanted to allow restaurants to sell alcohol products," said Mayor John Sasser. "And this is what we've done with this ordinance."
However, the sale of regular wines - which generally range in alcohol content from 9 to 14 percent, is prohibited. Florida Statute 568, titled Intoxicating Liquors in Counties Where Prohibited, prohibits the sale of alcohol products including liquor, wine or beer, that contain more than 6.243 percent of alcohol by volume.
Washington County falls under this "dry" rule.
"The county is still dry as it ever was," said Washington County Board of County Commissioners Chairman Tray Hawkins. "All this change does is allow businesses to follow state guidelines in regards to distance from schools, churches and parks."
Hawkins said he is a proponent of the streamlining of city and county ordinances, particularly when it involves economic growth.
"I think it's important for all county and city ordinances to be aligned," he said. "It makes it tough for businesses " to know which rules apply to what parts of the county if the two entities have conflicting policies.
"We're all in this together and to do the same thing," Hawkins concluded. "And that's to build Washington County to a bigger and brighter future."
Thursday night, that endeavor was taking place with much gusto at KC's Pizza & Grill.
Five-year-old Jemma Roper and three-year-old Emelia Epley sat in a booth in the backend of the regular seating area and picked away at their mac-n-cheese and sweet potato fries.
"This one's a whole lot more quiet, and more upscale," said Jemma's stepmother Christian Roper, who was speaking in regards to the restaurant's atmosphere under its previous owners. "And the food is really good."
It was the family's first dining experience at the new KC's, but, Roper said, it won't be the last.