The Loop Pizza Grill has been in the process of getting approval from Duke Dining to deliver alcohol to students, said Loop manager Owen Slomianyj.
When the Loop first opened the bar, Slomianyj spoke with Alcohol Law Enforcement representatives who said the Loop was able to legally deliver alcohol to students. Duke Dining Services, however, has not approved the restaurant to deliver alcohol so the Loop is not currently offering delivery services.
“We’ve had several meetings with Duke, but unfortunately they haven’t come to a decision on whether or not they want us to do that,” Slomianyj said. “It’s up in the air, and I don’t know when we’ll get an answer.”
A business with Alcoholic Beverage Control permits can deliver beer and wine, but not spirits as long as the customer has paid in advance, wrote Lorita Pinnix, assistant counsel for the North Carolina ABC Commission, in an email Wednesday. She noted that payment can be made over the phone or on the Internet.
Duke Dining, however, seems to have a different understanding of the law.
"ABC law says the purchase of the alcohol has to take place in the facility itself so we're just following that," Director of Dining Services Robert Coffey said.
CEO of Runner Over Benjamin Richter said Runner Over—a service that delivers food from The Loop and Pitchfork Provisions—has similarly tried to obtain approval from Duke Dining but has not been granted permission. Richter said Runner Over is not delivering alcohol and does not expect to anytime soon.
"No permit is required to just run a delivery service, if the delivery service is only picking up and delivering beer and wine that has already been paid for by a customer," Pinnix added.
The question of alcohol delivery comes up on a regular basis, wrote Agnes Stevens, public affairs director for the NC ABCC, in an email Wednesday. She added that she was not familiar with any businesses that actually deliver alcohol as there is no way to verify age on the Internet or over the phone.
She explained that an employee who sold or delivered alcohol to an underage person could face criminal penalties and that the business would face administrative penalties such as monetary fines or suspension of ABC permits.
"On a college campus, where 50 percent to 75 percent of the student body is under the legal drinking age, a retail business may not want to take the risk of selling alcohol when age cannot be verified or delivering alcohol to an event where it appears that most of the participants are under 21," Stevens wrote.
Although the Loop does not deliver alcohol, it does have wine and six-pack beers available to go, Slomianyj said.
“We have only done what we have been told is legal, and even beyond that, some things that are legal, we make sure that it’s okay with Duke Dining,” he said. “We don’t want to step on anybody’s toes.”
The Loop has a mixed beverage license and offers a full bar, including imported beers, local beers, craft brewers and other alcohols and mixers, Slomianyj said. From next week, the Loop will have a DJ every Wednesday at the bar, in addition to the live music that has been present on Thursdays.
Emma Loewe and Raisa Chowdhury contributed reporting.