Closing of tavern near I-70 leaves fate of site unclear Residents don't want a bar to take its place at prime intersection

August 13, 1998|By Del Quentin Wilber | Del Quentin Wilber,SUN STAFF

The closing last month of the Cooksville Carryout, where local residents have sipped beer and devoured sandwiches for decades, has left many wondering what will replace the small tavern, at a prime intersection in a growing area of western Howard County.

But it is not clear what will happen to the site at Routes 97 and 144, a half-mile south of Interstate 70.

"They'll probably try to sell to an aspiring bar owner or liquor carryout [owner] and let them try to get a license," said Bill Glasgow, a lawyer representing owners Somkid Danzer and Surachai Gosakwatana, who, facing a series of county liquor violations, surrendered their license July 14.

Some residents said they hope something other than a bar takes its place.

"It would be nice to see a restaurant there," said Marie Welsh, 33, who moved nearby a year ago. "I wouldn't mind a convenience store as long as it was a local kind of place, deli-type, family-run."

Doris Bell, who has lived next to the carryout for 21 years, said she would like to buy the 0.8 acres and add it to her 20-acre farm.

"I have mixed emotions," said Bell, 61. "It's been under different ownership, some good, some terrible."

Development would be limited by zoning regulations and environmental concerns. County planners said any use of the site could not discharge more sewage or waste than the carryout.

The site, which cannot support a septic field, requires a holding tank.

In the days before and after World War II, the store was known as Chick's Carryout.

Since its opening (no one knows for sure when that was), it catered to a variety of clientele, longtime residents said, from workers on nearby farms to motorcyclists on U.S. 40 and, later, I-70.

Danzer bought a 40 percent share of the business in 1984, according to county records. Since then, several others have purchased and sold stakes in the carryout.

For more than a decade, the carryout has been under scrutiny from the Howard County Liquor Board for a number of violations, including selling six-packs of beer to underage police cadets and several fights on the property.

"During the last 12 to 15 years, the police have found it a little tough to handle," said Councilman Charles C. Feaga, who represents the Cooksville area.

"I looked at it the other day, and it seems like a nice place to redo, open a new type of store, maybe a convenience store," Feaga said.

Members of the County Council, which doubles as the Liquor Board, said the owners would have lost the liquor license at a July 14 public hearing had they not surrendered it.

Martin Johnson, the county's alcoholic beverage inspector, said he found four violations during a routine inspection Oct. 18, including using operators and a name -- Crossroads Cantina -- that had not been approved by the board.

Pub Date: 8/13/98

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