Spencer City Council Chambers sign

City will allow state to rule on Spencer bowling alley’s liquor license

State officials will have to decide whether Liberty Lanes’ liquor license gets renewed as they review the case of the owner’s other Spencer business, Southside Grill, which two weeks ago had its license renewal denied by the city council. On Monday, the Spencer City Council voted to take no action on the Class C Liquor License for the bowling alley, noting in its motion that the application was “timely filed.”

“Which basically just means we’re passing the decision on to the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division and not taking a yes or no stance as a council,” Mayor Kevin Robinson said during the meeting. Liberty Lanes is owned by Chris Burg, who also owns Southside Grill. The “gentlemen’s steakhouse” is the focus of investigations into sales of alcohol to underage people and public indecent exposure. The city council denied Southside Grill’s liquor license renewal earlier this month, citing the investigations.

Southside Grill Gentlemen's Steakhouse building with logo of woman with swimsuit top holding fork with steak on top

Warrant claims tapes show underage drinking, indecent exposure at Southside Grill

Spencer law enforcement officials in court documents claim surveillance footage shows Southside Grill employees selling alcohol to people under the legal age, underage drinking and incidents of public indecent exposure. Southside Grill is being investigated by the Clay County Sheriff’s Office in connection to a double-fatality accident near Dickens in April. A warrant applied for by the Spencer Police Department and granted by a judge on May 30 suggests Spencer police have begun their own investigation. This is the first time since the Spencer City Council denied Southside Grill’s liquor license renewal on June 4 that authorities have mentioned allegations of indecent exposure by the establishment’s employees. The sheriff’s office has been in possession of surveillance footage from Southside Grill as it conducts its investigation.

Sign outside Southside Grill with two women dancing on poles and text: Vote yes to developing business

Southside Grill employee charged with serving alcohol to man who later died in crash

A Southside Grill employee faces charges that include supplying alcohol to a 19-year-old who later that evening was one of two men who died in an accident near Dickens on April 26. Late Tuesday afternoon, the Clay County Sheriff’s Office released more details about the incident, including the charges against Jacoba Knight of Spencer. Knight faces charges of selling alcoholic beverages to an intoxicated person, supplying alcoholic beverages to Alfonso Adrian Maldonado and failing to exercise reasonable care to determine whether he was under the legal age. Maldonado, of Graettinger, was the driver in a double-fatality car crash late Friday April 26 at the 280th Avenue and 350th Street intersection. He later died of his injuries at Spencer Hospital.

Southside Grill Gentlemen's Steakhouse building with logo of woman with swimsuit top holding fork with steak on top

Southside Grill under investigation for providing alcohol to minor who died after accident

Southside Grill is being investigated for providing alcohol to a minor who died following an April accident near Dickens. Before he died, 19-year-old Alfonso Adrian Maldonado of Estherville told a paramedic in the back of an ambulance that he and his friend, who also died in the accident, were at a strip club in Spencer and had been drinking, according to a search warrant affidavit. The sheriff’s office has since charged Southside Grill employee Jacoba Knight with serving alcohol to Maldonado without exercising reasonable care to determine whether he was under the legal age, among other charges. Additional charges as a result of the investigation are pending, according to the sheriff’s office. The search warrant requests security cameras, surveillance footage, receipts or other information identifying or containing payment information for Maldonado and an employee list and contact information for those who worked any time from 5 p.m. Friday, April 26, to 12:15 a.m. Saturday, April 27.

Southside Grill Gentlemen's Steakhouse building with logo of woman with swimsuit top holding fork with steak on top

Southside Grill liquor license renewal denied

The Spencer City Council denied Southside Grill’s liquor license renewal Monday due to allegations from officials that it has served alcohol to minors and intoxicated individuals and that its dancers often expose their nipples, a state code violation. Both City Attorney Don Hemphill and Southside Grill owner Chris Burg acknowledged that there is an active investigation involving the business. “We have not been charged with anything,” Burg said of his business, which has a 2018 liquor license that expires Sunday and a 2019 renewal now stalled until further state action. “We have not been indicted with anything under these alleged crimes.”

Southside Grill, 325 11th Street SW, markets itself as a gentlemen’s steakhouse. It has a limited menu, bar and female dancers who, under Iowa code, can’t expose their “genitals or female breast nipple.”

Burg reopened Southside Grill under its current model last fall after having struggled as a restaurant.

Chris Burg, Southside Grill Gentlemen's Steakhouse owner

Southside Grill Gentlemen’s Steakhouse owner just ‘doing my thing’

Chris Burg ignores any critics of Southside Grill Gentlemen’s Steakhouse. He said business has been good ever since he made the bar and grill, formerly just Southside Grill, an adult entertainment venue and restaurant hybrid at 325 11th Street SW in Spencer. “I wish I would have done this sooner,” said Burg, the establishment’s owner. Southside Grill Gentleman’s Steakhouse has attracted a lot of attention since Burg made his business plans known in September. After realizing that current zoning allowed him to do so, Burg re-opened with dancers and the new name in October.

Sign outside Southside Grill with two women dancing on poles and text: Vote yes to developing business

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

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.”

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.

Sign outside Southside Grill with two women dancing on poles and text: Vote yes to developing business

Restaurant owner describes strip club idea as ‘gentlemen’s steakhouse’

From Chris Burg’s perspective, it’s simple: Don’t like the idea of a strip club in Spencer? Fine. Don’t go. For those who haven’t heard, the Spencer businessman wants to turn his restaurant, Southside Grill, 325 11th Street SW, into a gentlemen’s club. Or, as he’s called it in a radio ad, a “gentlemen’s steakhouse.”

“I want to have two to maybe three poles in here,” Burg said Monday while he manned the bar at his restaurant during happy hour.

Southside Grill building in Spencer

Businessman wants to open strip club in Spencer; public hearing set for next month

October’s city planning and zoning commission meeting could be standing room only. That’s what happens when a businessman requests a zoning change be made so he can open a strip club inside the building he owns at 325 11th Street SW. The businessman, Chris Burg, last week shared with the planning and zoning commission that his current business at the property, Southside Grill, isn’t doing so hot and needs a change. “We’ve been struggling for the last six to nine months with business,” Burg said. “We do have business, but it’s hard to pay bills.