Cafe Society

Cheba Hut is a hit with Greeley judge

Cheba Hut raised a toasty toast this week when a Weld County District Court judge overturned a ruling that had denied a liquor license to the sub shop's Greeley location.

In April, Robert Frick, who rules on Greeley liquor licenses, turned down the company's request, citing Cheba Hut's pot-related marketing strategy, and spanking it with this: "This restaurant is founded upon the principles and theme of the illegal drug marijuana and incorporates other illegal controlled-substance-related themes."

Based in Arizona, with five Colorado locations (including one that just opened in downtown Denver), Cheba Hut celebrates counter-culture themes with its artwork, its sandwich names, its branding and just about everything else. Its motto: "The only thing fried is the occasional customer."

The sandwiches are "toasted," of course, and come in three sizes: four-inch Nugs, eight-inch Pinners and foot-long Blunts. They have names like Panama Red (reviewed this week in Our Weekly Bread), Chronic, Kush, Endo, Acapulco Gold and White Widow.

In his ruling, Weld County District Judge Daniel S. Maus said Frick had "acted arbitrarily and capriciously" in turning down the license, since 130 people had signed a petition supporting Cheba Hut's liquor-license application; the store is near the University of Northern Colorado campus. He also said that the restaurant's marketing strategy fell within its free-speech rights.

Cheba Hut spokesman Matthew Trethewey couldn't be reached for comment Friday morning, but we'll update this blog when he calls us back.

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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes