Prime, a burger restaurant at the Whitney Center, has a long, wooden counter that stretches across a wall, complete with high-raise stools and a flat-screen television behind it. It looks like a bar, but it wasn’t designed to be one.
“It was actually just used for storage space,” Prime managing partner Ed Hackett said. “We never had any intention to move forward with serving beer and wine.”
However, Hackett said, the demand for beer with the burger joint grew in customers. As of this week, Prime became the first venue at the Whitney Center to begin serving alcoholic beverages.
The restaurant now serves various brands of domestic and craft canned beer, such as Coors, Yuengling, Brooklyn Lager and Sixpoint.
“We have a couple of macro and micros, and we’re going to begin working on a monthly cycle of what we offer,” Hackett said.
According to Prime’s website, they also offer “bring your own beverage” service.
With Rowan students living nearby and the university’s policies on alcoholic beverages and consumption setting particular standards, Prime is taking extra precautions to ensure compliance.
Customers must procure two separate forms of identification, such as a driver’s license and school ID, to purchase beer. Students cannot pay for the alcohol with their Rowan Card.
Vice President of University Relations Joe Cardona said that while Rowan’s leased residential space above the restaurant could create “an issue,” he expects nearby vendors to maintain responsibility.
“There’s going to be more places serving alcohol,” Cardona said. “The upcoming building across from the bookstore and Enterprise Building will have businesses too that will sell alcohol at its restaurants.”
Cardona also said that Prime should likely approach policies similar to those of Landmark’s Bar & Grill.
Hackett said Prime’s credibility has been established in its two years of service.
“We were one of first people at the Whitney Center,” Hackett said. “Over the past few years we’ve gotten to see retail grow here and create new services.”
Local customers have responded well to the new beverage options, Hackett said, but the student crowd has yet to take advantage.
“We’re expecting to see more students in the spring, when we’ll extend the [restaurant’s] hours,” Hackett said. “We may eventually begin a ‘happy hour.’”
However, future plans for other customer-friendly deals and events aren’t being discussed at this point.
“We’re just focusing on serving craft beers with our burgers,” Hackett said.
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