Gentlemen’s steakhouse doesn’t need a zoning change to open in Spencer

Gentlemen’s steakhouse doesn’t need a zoning change to open in Spencer
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Chris Burg will open his gentlemen’s steakhouse – and he doesn’t need a zoning change to do it.

The Spencer Planning and Zoning Commission met Thursday morning to discuss the hearing date for the zoning change, but Burg pulled his request because he can operate the business how he intended without being defined as a sexually oriented business.

“We got clarification from (City Attorney) Don Hemphill,” Burg said. “We are officially able to go ahead with it.”

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Burg plans to turn his restaurant, Southside Grill, 325 11th Street SW, into a gentlemen’s steakhouse operated under the same name.

The restaurant will have entertainers and waiters. The entertainers will be able to perform pole dances and private dances, as long as they follow state law.

“They will have their nipples covered either with a tassel, body paint or nail polish,” Burg said. “We’re getting a clarification on, like, clear nail polish. And then they will be wearing underwear or bikini bottoms. That was the plan all along.”


He said the waiters will be fully clothed and the entertainers won’t serve food.

Spencer bases its definition of sexually oriented business on Iowa Code. According to section 728.5, Burg’s steakhouse wouldn’t be sexually oriented.

“As long as I follow that, I am completely legal,” Burg said. “I technically don’t even have to black out my windows.”

The idea has created debate within the community. Before Burg pulled his request, the planning and zoning commission was scheduled to hold a public hearing.

Now, he’s moved on to considering the changes he’ll need to make to the restaurant’s interior.

“We are going to start the build-out shortly and operate within the guidelines,” he said.

Burg also plans to put up a new sign outside the restaurant.

“We’re going to keep the name Southside Grill, but I am going to have a couple dancers on the sign, holding a steak,” he said.

Once his gentlemen’s steakhouse is open, Burg expects he’ll have customers. He said people have reached out to him on Facebook to let him know they’ll be stopping by.

“People can come in and enjoy it or they can stay at home and not come in,” Burg said.