SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

March 20, 2014

Board questions Brutole's closing

DANVERS — Chef Ilias Kakouris said yesterday he wanted to clear the air about the closing of Brutole Restaurant, though selectmen Chairman Gardner Trask said Tuesday that the eatery’s laundry list of liquor-license violations had used up his goodwill.

Selectmen voted 4-0 Tuesday to give Brutole 30 days to pay an outstanding liquor-license renewal fee and utility bills and come back with a certificate of good standing from the state Department of Revenue. The proposal by Selectman Diane Langlais also gave Kakouris six months to transfer the license or lose it.

“I am throwing you the best opportunity you are going to get,” Langlais said.

The restaurant, adjacent to Motel 6 at 65 Newbury St., closed Feb. 5 and vacated its space Feb. 7, an attorney for Brutole said.

“After 15 years, the lease was up, and we decided to move, and the new location will be disclosed,” Kakouris said in an interview. “We are working on a couple of locations.”

Kakouris, a West Newbury resident who co-owns the restaurant with his brother, Nick, said he tried to do everything right by hiring an attorney to pay all outstanding bills when the restaurant closed.

A big bill was the $4,600 renewal fee. Town Manager Wayne Marquis told the board that as of Feb. 28, the restaurant also owed $12,006 in electric, water and sewer bills.

Kakouris said the amount of outstanding utility bills is now about $11,000, which will be paid soon.

Selectmen said the restaurant also failed to tell the town that it was no longer using its liquor license.

After hearing from the restaurant, Trask said a lot of the excuses he heard could be chalked up to “ignorance of the process,” but he was not buying that.

“You made the statement that you did everything right; I find that completely unacceptable,” Trask said.

“This was a sudden turn of events,” said Brutole’s attorney Craig Tiedemann, of the firm Kajko, Weisman, Colasanti & Stein of Lexington and Andover. “There was a mutual parting of ways” when the hotel was sold, Tiedemann said.

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