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State Liquor Authority

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Update: Le Souk Back After Flame-Permit Suspension

And just like that, the mystery behind Le Souk’s weeklong closure is solved. A rep from the SLA tells us that the restaurant was suspended from October 19 until the 29th and fined $12,000 for failing to produce an open-flame permit on August 13, 2005, and failing to produce a Certificate of Occupancy and an assembly permit on January 5, 2006. Seven other charges were dismissed. Is this the end of it? You bet not! “There are still open cases which will be addressed in the future,” the SLA rep assures. In the meantime the place will be open for business tonight, so undo those top three buttons and party down. Earlier: Is Le Souk Finally Sunk?

Is Le Souk Finally Sunk?

Le Souk
The fate of beleaguered boîte 205 was to be decided today by the State Liquor Authority, but as tends to happen, the hearing has been held over till the next meeting. Meanwhile there’s evidence that another protracted case has been resolved: A friend of Grub Street tried to go to Le Souk last night only to find it closed. Her waiter at a nearby Moroccan restaurant (who happened to have worked at Le Souk) told her it has been shuttered for a week but didn’t know anything more. Since last December the place had been operating under a temporary license while it awaited word on the status of its renewal request. Can we take it the SLA has denied it once and for all? We’ve asked the Authority for the official word, but if you have any insight, do leave a comment. Update: It would seem that Souk gang was merely on suspension after a nasty flame-permit issue — and seven other charges, which have since been dropped.

De Marco’s Maniac Caught On Tape; NYC Denied Shamrock Shakes

The NYPD releases a surveillance video of the De Marco’s gun battle. It’s difficult to make out, but very graphic and not a little disturbing. [WNBC] Brace yourselves: McDonald’s has decreed that there will be no more Shamrock Shakes in NYC, although they’re still widely available elsewhere. What’s up with that? [NYDN] The Smith and Wollensky Restaurant Group is enjoying a sudden bidding war for its acquisition, after having already accepted a good offer. [Crain’s]

Liquor Task Force Giving Restaurateurs the Shakes

Alcohol is the lifeblood of the restaurant business. (We would liked to have said wine, which sounds less vulgar, but you can't charge a 400 percent markup on that.) In light of the city's recent nightclub murders, and with a growing number of protests over bar-generated noise, the State Liquor Authority is taking a verrry close look at who's getting liquor licenses these days, and the hospitality business as a whole is getting nervous — morning-shakes nervous. This fear seems increasingly well founded. Crain's reports that the SLA is now forming a "task force" to look into how licenses are issued. (Registration's required to read the article.) Even in areas like Queens, local politicians are calling for a tightening, if not an outright ban, on new permits. "The blockade of issuing licenses to bars has hurt the restaurant business too," Uovo owner Matt Hamilton told Eater in September, after his restaurant closed about a year into a license-less existence. The board is already so restrictive that before chocolate entrepreneur Richard Perl could open the Chocolat Michel Cluizel store in ABC Carpet & Home, he was forced to get a full liquor license in order to sell Kirsch-filled chocolate-covered cherries. Poor restaurateurs! They're as alcohol-dependent, in their own way, as a red-eyed grill man the morning after.