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Wegmans store in Buffalo seeks permit to sell wine, beer in cafe

Customers at Wegmans’ Amherst Street store in Buffalo may soon be sipping wine with their $6 meals.

Wegmans has applied with the New York State Liquor Authority for a permit to sell single servings of beer and wine for on-premises consumption inside the store’s Market Cafe.

If approved, the store would install two small, self-service refrigerated cases near the sub sandwich shop, much like the coolers that contain self-serve bottled water and soft drinks. Purchases will be made at a checkout lane nearby. Customers can drink the beverages in the cafe, but not on the patio or elsewhere in the store.

A similar permit was just approved for the supermarket’s McKinley Parkway store in Blasdell. The company will start selling single-serve drinks there within the next couple of weeks.

The grocer rolled out single-serve alcoholic beverage sales at its Geneseo store in September.

Another store, in Ithaca, also sells single-serve alcoholic beverages, and Wegmans has had an on-premise license for the Market Cafe in its Canandaigua store since 1994. That store’s cafe has a large, outdoor dining patio and sometimes hosts live music.

The Wegmans store at 5275 Sheridan Drive in Amherst currently has a license to pour alcohol during private events on its second-floor mezzanine, but that does not extend to customer sales.

As part of the $40 million expansion and renovation of its 8270 Transit Road store, Wegmans will add a full-service restaurant, the Pub, which will serve craft beer, wine and cocktails as well as a full lunch and dinner menu.

Wegmans stores in Rochester and Pittsford have liquor licenses for their adjoining restaurants, Amore and the Burger Bar.

Wine and liquor are still not allowed for retail sale in any of Wegmans’ New York stores, as state law requires.