Cleveland Restaurant Owner Allegedly Faced Losing Liquor License Over Gender Neutral Restrooms

Illustration for article titled Cleveland Restaurant Owner Allegedly Faced Losing Liquor License Over Gender Neutral Restrooms
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A Cleveland restaurant owner claims that a patio inspection turned into a fight over where people are allowed to pee because of an Ohio law that says bar bathrooms must be labeled for men or women.


According to Eater, Good Company’s bathrooms are labeled based on whether they have a toilet or a toilet and a urinal rather than with stick figures either wearing or not wearing dresses, which allegedly caused problems during the inspection:

“While the restroom doors at Good Company were already labeled with the type of toilet within (urinal and toilet or just toilet), the inspector informed them that it was not a clear enough indication and gender markers were still required. On Instagram the restaurant stated, “It saddens us to say that the State of Ohio has bullied us into putting genders on our restrooms at Good Company today. We fought it the best we could but ultimately they held our business hostage stating we wouldn’t be able to operate until we added an ‘M’ and a ‘W’ to the restroom doors. We even asked to see the law which says ‘restrooms available to both sexes.’”

Good Company’s owner Jonah Oryszak says an inspector came to look at the restaurant’s patio and ended up telling him that the restaurant could lose its liquor license if bathrooms weren’t clearly marked. Ohio Department of Commerce spokeswoman Kelly Whitaker disputed Oryszak’s claim to, saying the liquor license is in no danger of being “shut down.” The Ohio Liquor Control Commission didn’t respond to Eater’s request for comment.

The Ohio law states that liquor-serving restaurants “must have two complete restrooms (one for each sex) containing one or more water-flushed toilets, complete with seats.”

Definitely pro-water-flushed toilets with seats, the rest of this is bullshit.

Edit: A spokesperson for the Ohio Liquor Control Commission says the incident was a “misunderstanding,” but it’s still unclear why the owner understood his license to be in jeopardy in the first place.


This was covered on The Takeout (y’know, HERE!) and it’s not a big deal/misunderstanding and all cleared-up now?

Update, May 30, 2019: A spokesperson for the Ohio Liquor Control Commission tells The Takeout the incident with Good Company’s restroom signs was a misunderstanding: “The Division of Liquor Control Superintendent Jim Canepa actually called the permit holder this afternoon and cleared up the confusion. His permit and ability to sell liquor was never in question and his premise is in compliance.”

When asked whether gender-neutral restrooms would violate any type of statute, the commission’s spokesperson responded: “The rule simply requires two separate toilet facilities for men and women. You may reference Ohio Administrative Code 4301.” That code does appear to require separate facilities for men and women, with a few exceptions that you can read in its fine print.