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License Commission debates legalities of food operations

Date: 9/17/2012

By G. Michael Dobbs

SPRINGFIELD — After the results of an inspection by police, a number of bars that had been granted restaurant licenses actually now serve food.

The Board of License Commissioners met with several bar owners and managers at its Sept. 13 meeting to hear explanations why they weren't serving food and to report that they now have a food operation.

As Board Chair Peter Sygnator explained to the owners of Cabaret, 32 Hancock St., if a bar has a restaurant license it must serve food during the time it is open. It can have a reduced menu after a certain time, but there must be some food service.

If a bar with a restaurant license doesn't add food service, it must apply for a general premise alcohol license that doesn't include food. In the case of Cabaret, the owners will apply for a new license.

Michael Moriarty, the manager of Moriarty's Pub and Grill, 755 Liberty St., said his kitchen is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. His bar operations are until 2 a.m.

What followed was a negotiation between Moriarty and the board as Moriarty wondered if chips, pretzels and free hot dogs counted as food service. He was told they did not. His next offer was to have freshly made packaged sandwiches available until closing, which the board accepted.

Attorney Daniel Kelly, representing Xstatic, 240 Chestnut St., provided the board with a menu and photos of the kitchen operation showing several appliances. Kelly then provided the same menu and photos showing similar kitchen set-ups for Mardi Gras, 87-91 Taylor St., Center Stage, 265-267 Dwight St., and the Fifth Alarm, 775 Worthington St.

The board also wanted Yordy Santos, manager of Punta Cana, 137 Chestnut St., to answer for the distribution of illegal handbills. Michael Cass, the city's graffiti remediation liaison, had collected the posters from telephone poles and other locations. There is a city ordinance against such posters as well as flyers or postcards that are distributed by placing them under the windshield wipers of cars, Cass explained.

The posters promoted an event at Santos' club and Cass said the ordinance allows for a $50 fine for each illegal poster.

The board gave Santos a warning for this incident and he said that he would not allow promoters to distribute such posters in the future.

The board also approved the transfer of the alcohol license of the City Line Café, 9-11 Rimmon Ave., to Martin J. Cunningham. There were several neighbors there who said they had noise and parking complaints and Sygnator recommended to Cunningham he speak to them to avoid a hearing in the future.