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Starbucks may sell premade pastries and sandwiches in addition to lattes and cappuccinos, but should the small shops with limited kitchen space and equipment be considered restaurants that can serve wine and beer?

The Utah Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission wants that question answered — preferably by the state Legislature — before granting a state liquor permit to the national coffee chain.

Starbucks recently applied for a limited-service restaurant liquor license so it could implement its new evening program, Shannon Boldizsar, Starbucks senior manager for government and community affairs, told the liquor commission Tuesday.

Under state law, restaurants with a limited-service liquor license can sell wine and beer as long as 70 percent of the overall sales is food, which includes coffee.

Starbucks is trying to capitalize on its niche as a community gathering place and create a European coffeehouse atmosphere, Boldizsar said. The evening program includes wine, beer and small plates. It already has been implemented in 10 states and 75 stores across the country.

In Utah, Starbucks has requested one master license — the first company to do so since the 2014 Legislature created the master license category. It would cover five Starbucks shops: 10 W. 100 South (inside the Crandall Building), Salt Lake City; 3158 E. 6200 South, Holladay; Station Park, Farmington; Thanksgiving Point, Lehi; and Park Avenue in Park City.

The commission isn't sure the coffee shops are what lawmakers had in mind when creating the master license, said board chairman John T. Nielsen.

"They don't really prepare food, it's more reheating," he said, adding that "this is a policy issue that the Legislature should take a look at."

Nielsen said the commission also wants to move slowly on the issue as it would set a precedent for the state. "If Starbucks is successful, others will try to apply," he said.

Utah's confusing liquor-license structure is something the Legislature will likely discuss during the 2016 session, Sen. Jerry Stevenson said after the meeting. The Layton Republican has been tapped by fellow party members to oversee any new liquor proposals for Utah.

"We want to be [business] friendly, but we also do not want to lose sight of our objective," he said, which is to cut down on underage drinking and overconsumption.