Carrie Rengers

Spangles is much older than 21, but it’s finally legal to drink

Spangles long ago passed its 21st birthday — it turns 42 in January — but as of this week it’s now legal to drink.

The chain is adding 99-cent margaritas and screwdrivers to its menu on Friday at its restaurant near 21st and Woodlawn.

“We’re doing one store just to work out the little training and kinks,” says Dale Steven, who co-owns Spangles with his brother, Craig. “After that we will implement it in all the stores.”

The impetus for drinks comes from increasing fast-casual competitors that serve alcohol.

“You can’t go anywhere with your family that doesn’t have alcohol,” Steven says.

Except fast food restaurants, that is.

“We’re always trying to be unique,” Steven says. “There’s just a whole list of things that we always try to be the first at.”

Spangles has drive-through business in the evenings but not much dine-in business.

“It kind of leaves a lobby that could use some excitement,” Steven says. “In the evenings, all fast foods are relatively slow.”

He thinks drinks could be a draw.

“It’s a dine-in only product.”

He says Spangles is known for its orange juice slush, so a screwdriver slush made sense.

Screwdrivers and margaritas, including lime and strawberry ones with salt or sugar rims, are inexpensive and quick to make, Steven says.

“We have to be fast.”

There won’t be beer or wine at this point.

“It’s down the road.”

The margaritas will each be made with 1 1/2 ounces of tequila, and the screwdrivers will have an ounce of vodka.

“It’s delicious, and it’s got plenty of alcohol,” Steven says.

He says it will be clear there’s enough alcohol “the second you sip it.”

Steven says the drinks will be served in “a heavy-duty glass mug.”

“It’s going to be done right.”

Carrie Rengers has been a reporter for almost three decades, including 16 years at The Wichita Eagle. Her Have You Heard? column of business scoops runs five days a week in The Eagle. If you have a tip, please e-mail or tweet her or call 316-268-6340.