Stables gets OK to sell liquor Restaurant must make quarterly sales reports

February 07, 1996|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,SUN STAFF

The owners of Stables, a Westminster restaurant and bar that has been awaiting a liquor license for more than a year, were told yesterday that they will be able to sell beer and wine when the establishment opens next month.

The Carroll County liquor board has agreed to issue a Class B liquor license to the restaurant -- situated where Os and Ginny's operated until 1990 -- as long as the owners submit quarterly reports on food and liquor sales.

"We're happy. I think it's fair," said Christos Dardamanis, one of the owners of the restaurant at Main Street and Route 97.

It's been a long road for Mr. Dardamanis and his partners. They first applied for a liquor license in November 1994 and were given conditional approval. But the owners were unable to open the restaurant and later returned to the board seeking a waiver of the "90-day rule."

The liquor board had ruled that the restaurant should receive a license, but not until it had been open for 90 days. The three-member panel was following a rule, which took effect in November 1992, that requires county restaurants to operate for three months before receiving liquor licenses.

Stables' owners challenged the board's ruling in Carroll County Circuit Court, arguing that the board didn't have the authority to institute such a requirement. Stables' attorneys, Charles O. Fisher Sr. and Richard C. Murray, argued the restaurant should be exempt from the rule because the owners have spent more than $500,000 on renovations.

The rule's stated goal is to help new businesses meet their food quotas and establish themselves as restaurants rather than as bars. For a restaurant to maintain a Class B restaurant liquor license, food must account for at least 41 percent of its sales.

The 3-year-old rule has caused much debate among county restaurant owners, many of whom say they agree with the rule's intent but not with its approach.

Circuit Judge Luke K. Burns Jr. sent the case back to the liquor board to reconsider the waiver.

Speaking before the liquor board yesterday, Mr. Fisher said Stables' owners "were inclined" to accept the condition, but he asked the panel not to revoke the license after reviewing three months of sales. "It takes time to build trade," he said.

Board Chairman Russell Mayer said, "We want a restaurant, not a tavern. I'm not so narrow-minded to believe you're going to open and do 50-50" in food and alcohol sales.

"All we're talking about is progress reports," member Romeo Valianti said. "You've done a remarkable job with your place."

Mr. Dardamanis, who owned the popular Club Stables in Highlandtown for 29 years, said he plans to have more than 40 employees.

The bar once was a landmark where residents could mingle with the Baltimore Colts, who made it their hangout while training at Western Maryland College in the 1950s and 1960s.

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