Trial Set for Chehalis Restaurant, Bar Owner Who Clashed With State Over COVID Mandates

Up to Three Days of Jury Trial Set for State v. Mackinaw’s Owner Laurel Khan, Who Allegedly Served Liquor After License Was Revoked


Trial dates have been set for Mackinaw’s owner Laurel Khan, whose attorney will be making a case in Lewis County District Court generally denying claims that she continued to serve alcohol at the restaurant after her license had been revoked, unless a settlement agreement is made.

In a pre-trial hearing on Tuesday morning, Khan’s attorney, Caleb Jon F. Vandenbos, said the case may take up to three days, depending on how many witnesses the state calls. 

District Court Judge Wade Samuelson then set aside July 11, 12 and 13 for the trial. 

After the Washington state Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) obtained and executed a search warrant on Mackinaw’s on April 14, Khan, 61, of Chehalis, was issued a citation for serving alcohol at her businesses, Mackinaw’s Restaurant and the connected bar, Curious, without a valid license. 

The LCB originally revoked Khan’s alcohol license in a raid just before Christmas 2021 for repeated violations of Gov. Jay Inslee’s emergency order mandates related to COVID-19. 

An LCB spokesperson recently told The Chronicle the department received several tips that Khan and staff were continuing to serve without the license, and that LCB agents did an undercover operation allegedly confirming the tips.

Khan said she and her attorney are still trying to settle the case by arguing that other restaurants acting in defiance of mandates were merely fined. She said what she wants most of all is to have her liquor license back and that she’d be willing to pay for it.

“What we’re trying to prove is I’ve been very vocal against the mandate and going to the press,” Khan told The Chronicle, adding that she thinks the state targeted her because of her political stance.

Khan has pleaded not guilty to all charges against her. She appeared in court for the first time on the matter on April 29.

A District Court judge allowed Khan to remain out of custody on her own recognizance with no required bail, but was given a list of release conditions she must abide by for the duration of her case. 

Those conditions include having no criminal law violations, maintaining weekly contact with her attorney, abiding by all court orders, appearing in court as ordered and maintaining a valid mailing address, according to court documents. 

She will be taken into custody and remain in jail for the duration of her case if she violates her conditions of release. 

Her next appearance in court is June 23 for a hearing at 9 a.m.