On its second try, Stage One Grill gains approval for liquor license

October 15, 1997|By Del Quentin Wilber | Del Quentin Wilber,SUN STAFF

The Howard County Board of License Commissioners unanimously approved a liquor license for the Stage One Grill in North Laurel last night, a month after rejecting another application.

Stage One Grill, on the southbound side of U.S. 1 next to the Ramada Inn in southeastern Howard County, ran into trouble last month when residents said they were worried that the establishment would revert to a strip club of the kind that previously occupied the location.

Residents also expressed concern about Stage One's proposed resident agent, Bibinkumar M. Aghera, who co-owned Good Guys Bar and Grill, the county's only all-nude strip club, until April 1995.

The commissioners rejected the earlier application because of problems stemming from Aghera's role with the strip club.

Last night, the four co-owners of Stage One resubmitted the application with a new resident agent who is a part-owner.

In an effort to address residents' concerns, the commissioners, who are also members of the County Council, gave Stage One a Class B restaurant license instead of a Class D tavern license.

The commissioners made that change because Stage One billed itself as a family restaurant, which is more in line with a Class B license, under which more food than liquor must be sold, than with a Class D license.

Stage One may reapply for a Class D license if the sales ratio changes.

"If we have to give them that to get them off the ground, then let's do it," said Darrel E. Drown, chairman of the County Council.

Stage One's owners had said that without the liquor license, they would move to another county. But after last night's approval, they said they were satisfied with the restaurant license.

"We have no trouble with that concept," the owners' attorney, Thomas Meachum, said of the Class B license. "The commissioners had concerns about the previous resident agent, and we addressed them."

Michael Thewes, police liaison for the North Laurel Civic Association, said, "We wanted to see it fit into the community. I'll eat there now that I can get a beer with my food."

Pub Date: 10/15/97

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