Much to the delight of Charlotte’s restaurant industry, City Council on Monday unanimously approved the expansion of alcohol sales.

The vote means restaurants in the city will now be allowed to sell mixed drinks starting at 10 a.m. on Sundays rather than noon – a boon for those that offer brunch.

“Brunch freedom,” said council member Kenny Smith.

Mecklenburg County had already approved earlier alcohol sales in the unincorporated parts of the county. Huntersville and Cornelius recently passed similar ordinances.

The changes come weeks after state lawmakers passed a “brunch bill,” which allows cities and counties to pass local ordinances allowing the earlier sale of alcohol on Sunday – a move opposed by some churches. The law also allows retail stores and grocery stores to sell alcohol on Sunday morning.

In areas of the county where the change already has taken effect, restaurants are reporting higher sales on Sunday.

Brian Bruce, executive chef at Killingtons Restaurant and Pub in Huntersvielle, said they adjusted their hours to open earlier once the bill passed. They have put up posters and other advertisements to bring in more customers on Sunday morning. Bruce said that last Sunday they had $500 worth of alcohol sales before noon.

“Overall, it seems like a long time coming,” Bruce told the Charlotte Observer.

Red Rocks Cafe in Birkdale Village sold $200 worth of alcohol one Sunday morning after the brunch bill passed, owner Ron Herbert told the Observer.

“It was the time to change,” Herbert said. He said it was a good move on behalf of legislators.

Herbert said they also no longer have to deny alcohol to customers who order a drink on Sunday morning, which he said had led to irritation from customers in the past.

Founder and publisher of Qcitymetro, Glenn has worked at newspapers including the Los Angeles Times, St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Wall Street Journal and The Charlotte Observer.