Liquor Board Drops One Minors Charge Against Bj's

March 11, 1992|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Staff writer

The owners of BJ's, a Westminster restaurant and bar, came before the county liquor board yesterday for the third time in two months on charges they served alcohol to minors.

Owners Barry Snyder and Joseph Kaplan tried to persuade the board that they now consistently ask patrons for identification and are emphasizing the restaurant part oftheir business.

"I admit we were green in the business," Snyder said. "But one learns very quickly from his mistakes -- at least I do."

Snyder and Kaplan opened BJ's in the Fairground Village in July. Previously, thebusiness had been operated by different owners under the name Jeremy's Restaurant and Lounge.

They faced charges yesterday that they served alcohol on Feb. 1 to two 20-year-old women.

One of the charges was dropped during the hearing after one of the women admitted shepresented a false drivers license stating she was 21 to the BJ's doorman that night.

Snyder said he believed the other woman used a false I.D. that night, too. The woman -- Karen L. Obermueller of Finksburg -- told the liquor board she came in with a group of friends and "scooted" around the doorman while he was checking her friends' identification.

The charges were filed when a city police officer stopped Obermueller for speeding after she left BJ's and discovered she had been drinking.

The board will issue a written decision on the charge within 30 days. The owners face a maximum fine of $2,000 and suspension of their license.

Snyder said they are "very stringent" about asking for identification now and regularly post two employees atthe door.

He also said he revised the menu and is doing more advertising for the restaurant. Food sales in the last several weeks havebeen about 33 percent of sales, Snyder said.

Liquor law requires that food sales account for 41 percent of gross sales in order for establishments to keep their license.

The board met privately with Snyder and Kaplan after the hearing to give them advice, board attorney Brian Bowersox said.

In January, Snyder and Kaplan were charged with serving alcohol to three minors, one of whom died in an auto accident in November after leaving BJ's. The liquor board fined the owners $1,500 and suspended their liquor license for five days.

Last month, they were charged with serving beer to a 20-year-old Westminster man, but the board found they had not violated liquor laws because the man had presented a false I.D. two nights before, stating he was 21. The board asked the owners to card patrons more carefully in the future.

In two other cases yesterday, the board:

* Granted a liquor license to the owner of Oakmont Green Golf Course in Hampstead for the club snack bar area.

Leland S. Snyder, 43, of Glen Rock, Pa., said the clubhouse is under construction, and the public 18-hole golf course is scheduled to open June 1.

Liquor board Chairman Earle H. Brewer cautioned Snyder that he should closely monitor beer taken out on the course.

Snyder holds the license with Linda Hollman, 41, and Glenn L. Hollman, 37, both of Hampstead.

* Allowed a transfer of a liquor license to the new owners of the Leisure Racquetball Club in Westminster. Charles H. Winterstein sold the business to Kathy D. Cornell, 34, and Joseph D. Cornell Jr., 31, on Feb. 1.

The club sells beer and food in a snack bar area that seats about 25 people, said Kathy Cornell, who managed the club for 11 years before buyingit.

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