Harbor House expansion OK'd 2 a.m. liquor license approved

City board's changes questioned by lawyer

November 03, 1995|By Kris Antonelli | Kris Antonelli,SUN STAFF

The new owner of the Harbor House restaurant will be allowed by the city liquor board to expand into a vacant clothing store on Prince George Street and to retain a 2 a.m. liquor license, despite protests from a lawyer who claims the board does not have the authority to grant those approvals.

The city liquor board voted 3-1 Wednesday night to approve the expansion, saying the city charter gives it the power to approve expansion and transfer licenses.

Harry Blumenthal, an Annapolis attorney who represents MKB Management in Lanham, disagrees. "They can approve a transfer and grant a license, but they cannot transfer and expand it at the same time," Mr. Blumenthal said.

MKB Management is listed in the phone book at the same address as the home office of Harvey Blonder, the owner of Buddy's Crabs and Ribs, which is not permitted to serve liquor after midnight. Mr. Blonder has sought a 2 a.m. license for years.

Charles Grayston, chairman of the liquor board, said he voted against the expansion because he was unsure of the meaning of the city statute.

"Other than that question, I didn't see anything wrong with the license," he said. "I felt rather bad that I had to vote against it. If those legal issues went away, it would have been unanimous."

Other board members said they did not want to delay the reopening of the restaurant while the issue was being debated.

"At out last meeting, we transferred the liquor license to the new owners," said board member Leonard Berman. "The expansion was just a housekeeping task."

A local restaurateur, Raymond Lubrano, bought Harbor House this year and plans to reopen it in February.

Seats will be moved from the back of the restaurant toward waterfront windows, and a patio will be connected to the main dining room. The plan is for casual dining downstairs and a more formal dining room on the upper level.

The 21,000-square-foot expansion will allow access for the handicapped and a bigger kitchen. It will not add to the restaurant's 430 seats.

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