MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Hell’s Kitchen served 42,000 Bloody Marys last year, but not a single one before 10 a.m. on a Sunday morning.

A House committee on Wednesday is revisiting a century-old law forbidding the sale of liquor before 10 a.m. on Sundays.

Hell’s Kitchen owner Cynthia Gerdes said customers coming in before 10 a.m. are befuddled.

“They are just kind of dumbstruck that they can’t just enjoy one Bloody Mary,” she said. “Most people only buy one.”

Minnesota banned Sunday alcohol sales until the late 1800s, when it ended prohibition but regulated the hours.

More than 100 years later, a bill at the Capitol would move the Sunday starting time to 8 a.m.

One Mankato bar and restaurant owner told lawmakers his business is suffering.

“Saturday guests can have a Bloody Mary, a craft beer or a cocktail starting at 8 a.m,” Tom Frederick of Pub 500 said.

Hell’s Kitchen served 340,000 customers last year, including Vikings fans swarming downtown before the game.

The restaurant even built a special Bloody Mary bar to accommodate many of them.

“This is just saying, ‘If you go to a restaurant for breakfast or lunch, can we just have a drink when we want to have a drink?'” Gerdes said. “We’re grownups about it.”

This is not the only liquor bill that’s getting a lot of attention this year: There’s also a major push to repeal an 80-year-old law forbidding liquor stores from opening on Sundays.

It looks like it could have a good chance of passing as, so far, no one has expressed opposition.

And no one is exactly sure why it was passed in the first place. It was probably for Sunday religious reasons, but that’s likely not a good reason today.

Pat Kessler

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