Popular Restaurant Says No to Those Under 21


A location of the Winking Lizard Tavern denied 20-year-old college student Paige Boughton entrance into its restaurant for dinner last Tuesday.

She and her 23-year-old boyfriend went to the restaurant for its 30-cent chicken-wing special. When they approached the hostess stand they were both asked for their ID’s. The hostess then said that she was not 21 and therefore could not eat there.

The sophomore reported she was confused and embarrassed when she learned that the Winking Lizard has a policy that after 5:00 p.m., anyone under the age of 21 has to be accompanied by a parent, or a legal guardian, to gain entrance.

Boughton said she was not there to drink alcohol, only to eat chicken wings. They did not want to sit at the bar, or even at a table in the section of the restaurant that contains the bar. They wanted a table in the regular dining room.

She was further angered when she looked around and saw children dining with their parents. “I’m old enough to be listed in the military and to vote, but I’m not old enough to eat at this restaurant. It’s insane,” said Boughton.

One of the owners of the Winking Lizard, Fred Kobzowicz, says they’ve had the 21-and-over policy for more than 12 years. A sign reiterating that policy is posted at the hostess stand where customers come in through the front door.

Kobzowicz feels that it is a commitment to the community that they are doing all they can to abide by the laws prohibiting underage drinking.

He says that, although the Lizard tries to create a family atmosphere, ”we tend to attract more of a bar crowd than a lot of other casual dining places. If there’s a mixture of young adults, some 20, some 22, there’s a tendency for Bill to slip a drink to his buddy John — and we choose to not want to tackle that problem. We know it’s not always popular, but I think there are a lot of people out there who applaud the situation, too.”

Kobowicz reported that the regional manager felt bad for Boughton and sent her a gift certificate to use with her parents.

Paige Boughton is studying middle childhood education at Baldwin Wallace College. She turned 20 on March 9th.


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