College shuts restaurant that incurred liquor fine

May 11, 1994|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,Sun Staff Writer

The restaurant Reunions officially closed yesterday, as Western Maryland College turned in its Class B restaurant license to the Carroll County liquor board in exchange for a Class HC catering license.

Operators of the Westminster restaurant, which was part of the college's motel/conference center, made the decision after being cited for making renovations without liquor board approval.

Board members also cited the college for serving liquor at a restaurant with fewer than 50 seats, a violation of state law. Yesterday's hearing, which resulted in a $750 fine for both charges, had been continued from last month.

"Some good came out of this because it made us look at the nature of our operation and make a clear-cut decision about the direction we wanted to take," said Ethan Seidel, the college's vice president for administration and finance. "Rather than change our goals, we decided to change the nature of our license."

In assessing the situation, college officials realized the restaurant was not making as much money as the motel, conference center and catering portions of the business, Mr. Seidel said.

"There were too many different types of business to focus on at once," he said, noting that the college sponsors many conferences and catered events on campus. "We have a lot of experience in conferences and catering.

"This fits much better with the things the college naturally does."

The former restaurant, which has been remodeled to separate the eating and bar areas, will be used as another catering facility, allowing the college to sponsor up to four events at once, Mr. Seidel said.

Barry Bosley, director of facilities management, said the new room has about 4,000 square feet and the conference center has 5,000 square feet that can be divided into three rooms.

With a catering license, the college may also sponsor up to eight events a year, such as New Year's Eve or Valentine's Day dances. College officials have not made any decision about what types of events they would offer, Mr. Seidel said.

"We didn't think it was worth the business risk or the reputation in the community [to have a restaurant that wasn't well run]," he said. "We decided to stick to catering and conferences and make a contribution to the community that way."

In other liquor board actions, members agreed to upgrade the Class A Beer and Wine license forSandy's Carryout in Gamber to a Class A Beer, Wine and Liquor license.

The carryout sub and pizza shop on Routes 91 at 32 currently offers beer and wine for consumption off site.

"In the past year or so, I have had a lot of customers who have said they'd like a one-stop shop option," said the owner, Sandra Lee Timchula. "They don't drink beer or wine and would like to buy their liquor through me."

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