, Salem, MA

March 4, 2014

Restaurant appeals revocation of tobacco license


---- — SALEM — The owner of a Salem restaurant stripped of its license to sell tobacco products last month has made good on a threat to appeal the decision in court.

Asim Mushtaq, the owner of Salem Grill Z Chicken on Lafayette Street, says last month’s order by the Board of Health will cost him at least $50,000 in lost sales.

In a complaint filed last week in Salem Superior Court, Mushtaq is asking a judge to overturn the Board of Health’s Feb. 11 order.

During a hearing, board members discussed a series of violations by the eatery, dating back to July 2012.

Mushtaq says he didn’t own the restaurant until after that incident and simply paid the fine for the prior owner, who, he says, gave him cash to do so.

He is also disputing the discovery of six boxes of “blunt wrappers” under a counter in 2013, contending that they were left there by the prior owner and were not for sale. Blunt wrappers are tobacco leaves similar to the outer casing of a cigar, which can then be filled with marijuana and smoked.

Those were among the violations that led to the revocation, he and his attorney, Phil Lamonica, argue in their complaint. They contend that the eatery only committed two violations under the current ownership, selling cigarettes to a 17-year-old boy in February 2013 and to a 17-year-old girl in January. Based on that, it’s unfair to revoke the license, they say.

The revocation was set to take effect on Feb. 24.

There was no request in the court file for a preliminary injunction to block the revocation from taking effect.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.