Citations for selling liquor to a minor issued at three Menlo Park restaurants


A decoy operation on Friday, Feb. 6, in which a minor attempted to buy alcohol at 10 Menlo Park locations, resulted in citations for selling liquor to a minor at three restaurants, police reported.

Iberia Restaurant on Alma Street, Cafe Del Sol on Doyle Street and Akasaka on El Camino Real were the restaurants where citations were issued, Menlo Park police said.

The state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control took part in the operation with Menlo Park police. Police said the minor, who was under their direct supervision, complied with guidelines that say a decoy in such an operation must be: under 20, appear to be a minor, not wear clothing or jewelry which makes him or her appear older, and must answer truthfully if asked his or her age.

Police said individuals charged with selling or furnishing alcohol to a minor can be fined $250 to $1,000 or serve 24 to 32 hours of community service if found guilty of a first violation. Businesses that sell liquor to a minor can have their liquor license suspended or revoked.

The operation was funded with a mini-grant from the ABC, which requires such compliance checks at businesses licensed to sell alcohol for consumption both on and off the premises. "The goal of the mini-grant is to reduce alcohol-related crime," Menlo Park Office James Leuvano said.

Barbara Wood

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2 people like this
Posted by SteveC
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 9, 2015 at 3:04 pm

SteveC is a registered user.

Good! That should be a reminder that minor can not be served alcohol period. Glad to see there were no repeat offenders from the last sting.

31 people like this
Posted by really?
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 9, 2015 at 3:13 pm

Nice to know that we are rigorously upholding the law that busts a 20 year old for an empty beer can in his car, but gives him a warning if he's stoned out of his gourd. The law that demands a 20 year old shall never let a sip of Coors has his lips because he's not responsible enough, but is happy to sell him a gun, send him to Iraq, marry, have children, etc.

Our alcohol laws need to be reconsidered, not enforced like it's public enemy number one.

6 people like this
Posted by Gertrude
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 9, 2015 at 4:28 pm

really?: This article is about citing restaurants who serve alcohol to minors. Do you have a problem with that?

Do you really think that young men and women under the age of 21 are mature enough to know when they've had enough to drink? Have you ever been to a Stanford frat party?

Can you imagine a bunch of minors out on the town after imbibing at local restaurants and bars, and then driving? What a scary thought.

12 people like this
Posted by really?
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 9, 2015 at 4:39 pm

So when I've paid $50K to have my 20 year-old daughter's weeding at the Rosewood, ABC should pull their liquor license when we toast the bride and she has a sip of champagne?

Hey, why not move the drinking age to 25, or even 40. I've seen bad behaviour and drunkeness in all sorts of people, not just the frats at stanford.

4 people like this
Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Feb 9, 2015 at 4:54 pm

pogo is a registered user.

Well, these restaurants should certainly "card" anyone who may appear to be underage. Many places that I visit have notices stating you may be carded if you look under 35 (just to be safe!).

While there is never an excuse for serving beer or wine - even to a 20 year old - let's admit that this isn't exactly our biggest crime. Our police routinely ignore drivers without any insurance (a REAL issue when they hit you) or people driving recklessly. Stinging servers who forget to card a 20 year old is hardly our highest priority.

5 people like this
Posted by Gertrude
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 9, 2015 at 5:24 pm

I'm in favor of any law that keeps drunk drivers off the road, and enforcing laws that prevent minors from drinking alcohol at restaurants, definitely helps. The life saved could be my own :)

14 people like this
Posted by Joseph E. Davis
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Feb 10, 2015 at 12:34 pm

The drinking age is 18 in sensible countries. How does it make sense that you can legally be sent to war to die, sign contracts, and in all other ways live as an adult, except for having a legal glass of wine?

5 people like this
Posted by Peter
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Feb 10, 2015 at 1:29 pm

When I lived in the UK, with its lower drinking age of 18, I drank responsibly. Becoming 21 did not change that. I have seen older, but not wiser, 21+ year olds drink irresponsibly and drive. By forcing young adults to wait until the arbitrary age of 21 all we accomplish is to give them a law to break. The best approach to drinking at any age is to educate people on how to be responsible. Making it a crime for an 18 to 21 year old to have a drink in a restaurant is ridiculous.

10 people like this
Posted by Peter
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Feb 10, 2015 at 1:31 pm

I should have added that in my opinion letting 16 year olds drive is far more dangerous than letting 18 year olds drink.

4 people like this
Posted by SteveC
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 10, 2015 at 3:47 pm

SteveC is a registered user.

@ Really: Really, beer can in car. Not even an adult can have an open container in a vehicle. People should not be drinking and driving.

I do not care that you paid $50,000 for your 20 year olds Wedding!! (I didn't know what "Weeding" was so I assure you meant WEDDING. No liquor should be served to minor period!

15 people like this
Posted by really?
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 10, 2015 at 4:06 pm

Apologies SteveC for my typos (I too am not sure what a 'weeding' is).

But why is a 'minor' below the age 18 in terms of voting, sexual behavior, the draft, legal rights, etc, but for consumption of alcohol, a 'minor' means below 21?

My real daughter (not the hypothetical pregnant one getting married) spent her first two years of college in the UK, where she paid her way by tending bar. Not only did she learn bar and business skills, but she had a few drinks as well. She moved back here and as a 20 year old, so should we have said 'you're a minor- no wine for you!'?

Drinking laws need to be changed and the Police need to take a less black-and-white view of a law that both arbitrary and ill-founded.

8 people like this
Posted by Downtowner
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 10, 2015 at 10:51 pm

The restaurants which erred are establishments known primarily for serving food. I hope that liquor stores, The Refuge, Dutch Goose, Applewood & the Oasis were also part of selected sting targets. I'm sorry for the servers who were fined.

I agree that intoxicated drivers are a hazard to everyone else on the road. So are cell phone callers who are not "hands free" & texters. So are drivers who have their pet dogs on their laps. So are red light runners - I see those daily @ Ravenswood'El Camino/Menlo Ave.

Yes, the laws should be enforced. Unreasonable laws should be changed. Let's contact our local legislators requesting the drinking age to be lowered to 18. Most East Coast states declare alcohol consumption legal @ 18. If our young people aren't smart enough to drink responsibly at 18, how can they be trusted to vote, marry without parental consent, and go to war at that age?

2 people like this
Posted by Back to the facts, please.
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Feb 11, 2015 at 9:33 am

The article wasn't about whether a person under 21 could or should have a drink (which is a valid topic for discussion). It's about citations issued to 3 restaurants (not their servers) for failing to obey existing law at their establishments. Should that law be enforced or changed?

Like this comment
Posted by SteveC
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 11, 2015 at 4:06 pm

SteveC is a registered user.

Yes, the law should be enforced. What you do or allow your underage child to do in your own home is fine. Not in a restaurant who can be fined and loose their liquor license.

4 people like this
Posted by Agnes Brydges
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 13, 2015 at 7:58 am

I heartily agree with those who point out the absurdity of requiring a person under the age of twenty one to leave his home, interrupt his (or her) schooling, and pick up a gun and go to war against their wishes - - but oh no - we won't let them have a glass of wine at a restaurant. I should hope we can all agree that there is something wrong with this law.

That being said, we DO need to keep drunk drivers (and distracted drivers) off or our roadways. But let's do that without penalizing young people who are good, hard working and responsible.

2 people like this
Posted by DC McGlynn
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 13, 2015 at 11:05 am

Sad to see this while at the same time MPPD and the DA FAILED to prosecute the driver who ploughed into the children outside Walgreens. The law is an A$$ (yes, dollar signs, all they want at Traffic Court is your money. Been 5 times, won every time due to sloppy or non-attending Police (not just MP!).

Lets get the texting, talking, non-paying attention drivers off the road and leave the lite-beer sipping 20 year olds alone.

Old Timer ..

Like this comment
Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 13, 2015 at 11:09 am

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

@Agnes Brydges

NOBODY goes to war against their wishes in the USA. This is an ALL volunteer Military. My brother a now retired E^ (Colonel) always reminds me that these soldiers not only volunteer to become members of our Military, they often BRAVELY volunteer to return to Iraq and Afghanistan.

SO while we give people the right to vote, we can and do withhold their right to drink. NOT to go to war, they are SOLEY responsible for that brave and patriotic decision, and we should thank them EVERY DAY for that.


3 people like this
Posted by Oldie
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Feb 13, 2015 at 6:04 pm

WTF?? I've been to two of these establishments and they clearly were not places where minors go to drink with any regularity. The average age at both was probably 40. I pity the minor who would go to either of them to get drinks.

So what was the point of this operation? Is this really the most worthy use of police resources? Did they eliminate the horrid virus of underage drinking at restaurants that is plaguing Menlo Park?

Why harass productive businesses with this crap? If we had a raging clubby downtown or a spate of DUIs for minors I would understand, but reading about this only makes me feel like the police need better management - and I generally like the police.

They were just trying to bait otherwise good members of the community into making an innocent mistake for an otherwise rare event. They might as well be running a crackdown on kids not wearing bicycle helmets - by handing out bikes without helmets to kids.

Like this comment
Posted by Better use of funds
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 13, 2015 at 6:17 pm

I would rather see the money go towards random breathalyzer tests of weaving drivers leaving popular restaurants, bars or frat houses in the evening, especially Thursday - Sat nights.

Prevent an accident. Save a life.

Most people 18-21 do drink. The issue is driving, for any age.

Like this comment
Posted by Bill Weiss
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 13, 2015 at 6:31 pm

Don't conflate underage drinking with drunk driving.

Drunk driving deaths last year in the US: ~10,000
Alcohol poisoning deaths last year in the US: ~2,000

Underage drinking is illegal, but by itself it can only kill the drinker. Drunk driving can be committed by anyone of any age and the victims are more numerous.

The citations should have been for not calling cabs for drunk patrons on their way out the door.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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