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Board fines two restaurants for underage sales

Prince Frederick, MD - Deputies from the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office received praise from a member of the county’s Board of Licensing Commissioners (The Liquor Board) at the panel’s Thursday, Feb. 28 meeting. Board member Jack Smack told the deputies that their efforts to ensure liquor law compliance among licensees have been effective. Two local restaurants admitted to isolated incidents involving sales of alcohol to minors and received fines and license suspensions during the meeting.

The owners of the Ruddy Duck restaurant and microbrewery in Dowell, along with the bartender who admitted to committing the offense went before the board, represented by attorney Larry Cumberland. “I made a poor judgement call,” said bartender Pablo Stone, who stated he has had a 21-year career tending bar and had been violation-free until the recent indiscretion occurred. Stone told the board he felt terrible about the illegal sale and realized he would be terminated if it ever happened again. The bartender explained that he neglected to check the identification of the customer who turned out to be under the age of 21.

“We’ve always maintained a proactive stance,” said Michael Kelley, the restaurant’s co-owner. “We were pretty upset about it. We take it very seriously.”

The board imposed a $250 fine and imposed a three-day license suspension. The suspension will be held in abeyance, provided the Ruddy Duck has no liquor law violations during the ensuing one-year period.

Cumberland also represented Salsa’s Mexican Café, its owner and the manager on duty when the violation occurred. Elisa Aurora explained that she was dealing with several to-go/phone-in orders when she inadvertently served a beer to someone under age without seeing his identification. Shortly after the transaction, Aurora said “the cops came in and told me what I did.”

“I understand the consequences,” said Salsa’s owner Carlos Bravo, who told the board the restaurant has had no previous liquor law violations.

“They make sure we card everybody now,” said Aurora.

“I believe you were very embarrassed by this,” Smack told Aurora. The board fined Salsa’s $250 and imposed a three-day suspension, which will be held in abeyance for one year, provided there are no subsequent violations during that period.

In other business, the board approved the transfer of the Class B On Sale Beer, Wine and Liquor License held by DP Gordon Enterprises, LLC to Jason J. Madella, who will become the owner of Stoney’s Seafood in Prince Frederick. Madella told the board he has been in the restaurant business for 15 years and has been training to take over the operation of the restaurant on Costley Way for the past year. Madella stated he was in the process of receiving his Training for Intervention Procedures (TIPs) and Techniques in Alcohol Management (TAMs) certifications. Don Gordon, the outgoing restaurant owner, said Stoney’s Prince Frederick location has had no violations during the time his business has owned it.

The board approved the transfer of a previously held Class B On Sale Beer, Wine and Liquor License to Primprapa Thipwong, whose new restaurant in Solomons will be trading as Sawatdee Asian and Seafood Carryout, LLC. Thipwong said she has held a liquor license for a similar business in St. Mary’s County for several years with no liquor law violations. She and both of her employees are TIPs and Tams-certified.

Two businesses on Bay Avenue in North Beach also received request approvals at the meeting. Jane Connor and Anne Ryan, trading as Wine and Design of Calvert (Grateful Artists of Calvert, LLC) were granted the transfer of the Class D On Sale, Beer, Wine and Liquor License held by the previous owner. Sharon Hall and Susan Purdy are now the license holders for Bay Wine and Spirits. Their venture, Bay Wine and Spirits, LLC, holds an On Sale, Beer, Wine and Liquor License. The business has been opened for nine years.

Contact Marty Madden at marty.madden@thebaynet.com

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