The City’s Licensing Commission met on Monday, Nov. 18, at City Hall to review the licenses of eight local dining and nightlife establishments.
Present at the meeting were Licensing Board President Phil Antonelli, Board Member Phil Arloro, Board Clerk Annette Debilio, Detective Mike Levy of the Everett Police Department, and Assistant City Solicitor Keith Slattery.
On the agenda were 7-Eleven at 543 Ferry St., Braza Bar and Grill at 158 School St., Ferry Street Grille at 108 Ferry St., Mama Santos Cafe Bar and Grill at 388 Main St., Montecristo Taquería y Pupusería at 389-391 Main Street, The Silver Fox Function Facility at 530 Second Street, Texas Roadhouse at 31 Mystic View Road, and Winners Sports Bar & Grill at 361 Ferry St.
The businesses appearing before the Commission had been summoned for a variety of violations.
•Winners Sports Bar & Grill and Karma Lounge Boston
The owner of Winners and his wife appeared before the board to address the concern that they were using the downstairs portion of their venue to host parties, an activity that is not permitted by their current license. The owner readily admitted to using the downstairs of the venue to host pre-planned events, including a debutante ball, a child’s birthday party and even a wedding. He had been renting out the downstairs in an effort to reduce his substantial debt, for which he has already received an eviction notice.
The board ultimately agreed to allow the owner to rent out the downstairs for events under the condition that no alcohol be served or consumed there. The owner was in full agreement. He will have to come before the board again on December 2, and cannot book any events until after that date.
Winners had previously been the subject of numerous complaints and had its license revoked in May. Antonelli described the board’s relationship with the business over the past seven years as “torture.”
The owner said Winners was his “dream” and that he would do whatever it takes to get back on the right track.
Board members expressed some doubt about how the owner plans to restrict alcohol in the downstairs area.
The board told the owner of the 7-Eleven that his display of alcohol in his store was against regulations on two fronts: 1) all alcohol needs to be in one area and cannot occupy floor space in different areas of the store, and 2) alcohol display cases and beer chests need to be physically blocked, locked or otherwise covered after 11 p.m., which is the time by which all retail locations must stop serving alcohol.
The owner was cooperative and vowed to correct the situation with help from his corporate office. He will reappear at the Feb. 18 Licensing Board meeting, and he has until that date to fully remedy the problem.
•Braza Bar and Grill at 158 School St.
The owner of Braza Grill appeared with his lawyer to answer to a violation involving misuse of his space. Braza Grill had advertised a live music show at its restaurant, something that violates its current license. The owner had received a statement telling him that a band could not play at that location, after which he moved the show to Silver Fox.
The owner claimed he didn’t know the performance would include a band and thought it was a disc jockey. The Licensing Board reminded him that his current license also doesn’t accommodate DJs. The establishment can only play recorded music over the sound system or via a jukebox.
Braza Grill is still reeling from an incident in 2015 when a young woman was shot and killed outside the venue during a live music concert where her boyfriend was performing. Since that date, the establishment has not been able to extend its hours on Friday and Saturday nights. No arrest was ever made in the case.
•Ferry Street Grille
The owner of Ferry Street Grille was cited for not operating within the hours specified on his license. Specifically, his establishment was closed during hours when the license states it should be open and serving the public. The reason underutilization of hours is a problem is that if a business owner receives a license for specific hours but is not required to operate during those hours, he can simply sell the license to another business owner for thousands of dollars, making money off city licenses. This is not generally an issue when licenses in the city are plentiful, but when demand is high due to low supply, business owners may be willing to pay a premium to score a coveted license.
The owner will maintain his seven-day license, but will appear before the board again in December to ask to eliminate the nighttime hours.
•Mama Santos Cafe Bar and Grill / Montecristo Taqueria & Pupuseria
The board addressed the owners of Mama Santos and Montecristo regarding violations to their hours of operation. Both establishments were found to have served patrons outside of the business hours permitted by the license. The owners were reminded that this was not allowed and that not even cleaners should be present after hours. Both owners agreed to comply.
•The Silver Fox Function Facility
The owner of the Silver Fox was reprimanded for accommodating the live show that was moved from Braza Grill to its venue. He stated that it wouldn’t happen again.
A representative from Texas Roadhouse appeared before the board to disclose that its parent company was removing two corporate executives. Under state law, the restaurant needs to make the licensing board aware of the change. Other than the restructuring at the top, there will be no change to operations in Everett.