Liquor Board decides to allow restaurant's license to stand

Panel won't hear appeal of permit for cafe


The Howard County Liquor Board decided Monday night not to hear an appeal that could have affected a western county restaurant's ability to serve alcohol.

The Alcoholic Beverage Hearing Board granted a license to the newly opened Country Kettle Cafe in March, but a group of Poplar Springs residents wants the Liquor Board to take the license back. Among their complaints: Route 144 crests in front of the restaurant, and they think serving alcohol there would contribute to a dangerous traffic situation.

The cafe's owner, Amy R. Crooks, said that in the past patrons have brought alcohol into her restaurant because she legally cannot bar them from doing so. Concerns about traffic and speeding, she said, are best handled by highway officials.

"I was very pleased with the outcome, of course," she said yesterday.

Although the Liquor Board let her license stand, residents may appeal to Howard County Circuit Court. Stephen Swanhart, a Poplar Springs resident who led the opposition, said he didn't plan to appeal, although others might.

"Whenever there's an applicant that personally meets the requirements for a liquor license, it's almost impossible to not have the license issued because of the extenuating circumstances of the location," he said.

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