By Janee Law
Huntington Councilman Mark Cuthbertson has called on the New York State Liquor Authority to deny a Huntington Station restaurant and bar from renewing its liquor license after numerous violent crimes have been committed on the property over the last five years.
During that time period, Suffolk police have filed 127 separate reports of incidents that have allegedly occurred on the property of Melissa Restaurant at 1419 New York Ave., including a fatal stabbing.
Cuthbertson said he believes denial of a renewed liquor license could counteract the level of violence reported in the area.
“This restaurant has become a public nuisance,” Cuthbertson said on Wednesday. “There’s too many incidents of criminal acts being committed at or around their property so I think the New York State Liquor Authority should consider that when deciding whether to grant them a permit.”
He added, “If they want to be a restaurant, be a restaurant that serves, food but not with alcohol because apparently the combination in this location doesn’t mix well.”
The current liquor license for Melissa Restaurant is set to expire on May 30, 2017, according to Bill Crowley, a spokesman for the NYSLA. In order to apply for another license, the restaurant has to notify the Town of Huntington at least 30 days before.
The restaurant, which is managed by the El Paraiso Elvira Corp., has notified the town of the application, but Crowley said the NYSLA had not received it as of deadline Wednesday.
Once the town received the notice of application, Cuthbertson penned a letter addressed to NYSLA Chairman Vincent G. Bradley. In the letter, which is dated July 18, Cuthbertson asks the chairman to “halt the cycle of violence at this location” by denying the application.
Cuthberston added in the interview, “Some of the complaints that we’ve seen are indicative of alcohol use. There is documented evidence of a relation to alcohol and the violence that’s going on.”
Cuthbertson cites several violent crimes in his letter, including a June 28, 2014 fatal stabbing of 38-year-old Luis Ramos-Rodriguez, which was reported to have occurred in Melissa’s parking lot. He also mentions an incident involving menacing in the second degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree that was reported on Dec. 15, 2015; and a robbery in the first degree that was reported on March 28, 2015.
Over the past six months, police have been called to the property on six different occasions, including on July 4 in response to an alleged assault victim with lacerations to the face.
In an email Wednesday, Commissioner Crowley stated, “As this license has serious disciplinary charges pending against them, the NYSLA will not consider a new application for this location until this case is resolved.”
Crowley added that when municipalities oppose applications, the NYSLA board holds a public hearing to determine whether or not to grant the application. Crowley also said Cuthbertson will be notified when the NYSLA receives Melissa’s application for a liquor license.
Repeated calls to a number listed for Melissa Restaurant went to voicemail.