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2 Westerly restaurants granted liquor licenses

WESTERLY — The Westerly Licensing Board unanimously approved two liquor licenses — one new and one transferred to a new owner — following public hearings held for both businesses at a meeting on Thursday.

Board members Frank Palaia, Rudolf Hauser, Michael Cardiff and Adrian Pelchat Jr. approved Ten Sandwiches for a liquor license for their Bay Street shop. The Fazio brothers’ application was accepted with the condition that they honor the condition set forth by the Zoning Board of Review, which also unanimously approved a special use permit for the business in June.

Like similar restaurants serving alcohol outdoors in Watch Hill, such as The Olympia Tea Room, the Watch Hill Yacht Club and Misquamicut Club, Ten Sandwiches must cordon off its outdoor dining areas as a condition of its license.

The Fazios’ application was met with initial questions and concerns from the Watch Hill Fire District regarding the possibility of outside diners leaving the shop with alcohol in hand, as well as the Planning Board concerning their restroom and septic system facilities.

Co-owner Pat Fazio noted previously that the restaurant served beer and wine in its prior location on Commerce Street, which was destroyed in a fire last summer, causing them to relocate to Bay Street.

“It’s always been part of their business plan,” said Robert Lombardo, the attorney representing the business.

China Buffet Restaurant’s new owner, Qun Chen, of West Warwick, also received unanimous approval from the board on his application to transfer the current liquor license for the Airport Road business.

Chen is in the process of purchasing the restaurant from Tong Lu.

As a condition of the transfer, the board required that Stop & Shop, the landlord, accept the new lease application, and that all outstanding debts be paid. Chen owns a similar Chinese buffet near his previous residence in Mississippi and previously worked at Lu’s other buffet location in East Greenwich. Chen’s attorney, Mark Buben, of Cranston, said the restaurant’s offerings would continue as they are now.

Buben estimated that the process to transfer ownership will be complete by the end of July. A Norwich woman was charged in the spring with credit card theft in a skimming scam linked to former Buffet employees.

The restaurant has remained open throughout the transfer in ownership, with Chen studying the details of the day-to-day business operations with Lu, Buben said.

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