Johnson City Police Chief Mark Sirois said that officers arrived at a nearby Applebee's restaurant Thursday around 5 p.m.
A parent told them "Not Your Father’s Root Beer," an alcoholic root beer, was served to his three children, ages 9, 10 and 11.
"We walked in, we got seated, we asked for something to drink," the children's father, Scottie Barnett, told WJHL. "My kids said they wanted root beer, so she said ‘OK, fine.’ She brought them what appeared to me as root beer."
Barnett said his 9-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter drank some of the bottled drinks. His 10-year-old daughter was also served the beverage but did not drink any of it.
Barnett said when he told the waitress the drinks were alcoholic, she insisted they were root beer.
"This is a 5.9 percent alcoholic drink," he said. "They don’t even serve root beer here at this establishment.”
Barnett called police and reported the incident to Applebee's corporate office.
Sirois said no police report was filed.
According to Barnett, his son was taken to a hospital after he complained of stomach pains.
He was later released and is expected to be OK.
"Sincere apologies were made, the family accepted dinner as our guests and immediate re-training of all team members on duty took place," Applebee’s spokesperson Patrick Lenow said. "Re-training of all team members of all the restaurants operated by this owner will be completed (Friday)."
Lenow emphasized that this was a mistake limited to only one restaurant that is independently owned.
The employee who served the drinks has been suspended.