BRADENTON -- Anyone born after today in 1990 shouldn’t be served alcohol.
That was the message of Thursday’s underage drinking sting by the Bradenton Police Department. The city-wide operation led to 10 employees of 42 establishments being charged with selling/serving alcohol to minors and being issued a notice-to-appear summons.
“We’ve been doing these operations to prevent underage drinking in the community,” said BPD Capt. Warren Merriman. “If it helps to get one alcoholic drink out of the hands of a minor, we did our job. It’s more about education.”
Those charged worked at the following restaurants:
n Gecko’s Grill and Pub, 4310 Manatee Ave. E.
n Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill, 4658 Manatee Ave. E.
n K&S Discount Food & Beverage, 2615 Ninth St. W.
n Kwik Stop, 1718 14th St. W.
n Shell Gas Station, 3612 Cortez Road.
n Danny’s Pizzeria, 7220 Manatee Ave. W.
n Nicki’s West 59th Restaurant, 1830 59th St W.
n Fanatics, 4669 Cortez Road.
n Gio’s Fabulous Pizza & Martini Bar, 4805 Cortez Road.
n Mama Onesti’s Italian Restaurant, 4625 Cortez Road.
Under Florida law, selling, giving or serving alcoholic beverages to someone under age 21 is a second-degree misdemeanor.
The operation was conducted with a male and female who would ask for a drink and then hand over a real ID card when asked to provide one, said Merriman.
Angela Voss, owner of Fanatics, said she is known as being a hardliner when it comes to underage drinking and wasn’t happy with the news.
“In 16 years I’ve never had this happen. I’m not happy about it,” she said. “My employees are very aware of it and we have a meeting once a month and we go over it -- ID, ID, ID.”
Voss said the employee who served the minor has been suspended.
“I’m a grandmother who didn’t let her own kids drink,” she said. “It’s not OK to me.”
This isn’t the first time the department has conducted this sort of operation. In February 2010, the department visited 59 locations and turned up 11 violations.
“We have been conducting smaller operations throughout the city targeting establishments and underage drinkers themselves,” Merriman said. “It’s been effective.”
The server at Nicki’s West checked the ID, but didn’t do the math correctly, according to manager Jenny O’Brien. To prevent that mistake from happening again, she placed a sign by the register to help servers check their birthday math.
Merriman said anyone who knows of a restaurant serving minors should call the Bradenton Police at (941) 932-9301.