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AZTEC — The Aztec City Commission unanimously approved a liquor license for Beer Belly's Burgers & BBQ during a meeting Tuesday night.

“It wouldn’t be Beer Belly's without beer,” Commissioner Austin Randall said.

The restaurant, which opened in June, is owned by Robert Paschall and Malissa McClelland. Paschall's family previously owned the Hiway Grill, which closed about a year ago. His relatives own 550 Brewing, and Paschall previously served the brewery’s products at the Hiway Grill.

Paschall and McClelland said they will not be able to serve 550 Brewing’s products at Beer Belly's. They said the Hiway Grill added a taproom to allow the products to be served there. Instead, Beer Belly’s will serve cans and bottles of beer.

While the HiWay Grill closed due to financial reasons, Paschall said he and McClelland decided to open another restaurant when the opportunity presented itself for them to rent a small building on West Aztec Boulevard. After Los Barela’s relocated to Bloomfield, the building became available.

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