SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

July 3, 2012

Cabaret Lounge, Carrabba's Grill shut for 3 days

BY ALAN BURKE, STAFF WRITER
The Salem News

---- — PEABODY — Instead of taking it off, the staff at the Cabaret Lounge on Route 1 is taking off for the holiday, serving a three-day suspension of its liquor license. The punishment began yesterday.

And they’ll have company. The city’s Licensing Board dealt with the strip club along with five other businesses, mostly on Route 1, that were caught serving alcohol to minors in a May 23 police sting.

“It’s unbelievable,” said Licensing Board Chairman Minas Dakos. “People are not being vigilant enough.” 

The Cabaret violation came close on the heels of a previous one, Dakos said. He was surprised by the violation, he said, “because they do run a tight ship.”

Cabaret manager Frank Green could not be reached for comment. According to Dakos, Green’s explanation to the board was that a doorman left his post for a cigarette at the moment when an underage police agent went inside. The staffer serving him assumed his age had been verified at the door.

Carrabba’s Italian Grill, in a similar position with a previous violation, also had its license suspended for three days. At the request of Carrabba’s, the dates were set as July 3, 4 and 5. The business was represented by the company’s regional operations manager, Skip Jackson. Two supervisors and the server were fired in the wake of the sting, Jackson told the board.

“We did get the impression he took this seriously,” board member Chuck Holden said.

Area restaurants and bars can expect multiple stings in the future, Holden said. Both state and local authorities are currently conducting them. 

Frank Martino’s Pizzeria, Yummi Sushi and Royal Garden, all on Route 1, and Maki Sushi on Main Street, none with previous violations, were given warnings.

The board also issued a three-day suspension, July 2, 3 and 4, to Toscana’s Restaurant and Cafe on Bourbon Street as a result of a sting on April 23.

Martino blamed the failure on an employee who, he said, had been trained to spot underage customers and had long experience as a bartender. He was fired within 30 minutes of the sting, after police sent in a young man who ordered a beer and promptly left after it was placed on the counter. 

The police agent had been in the shop before buying sandwiches, and the employee assumed he’d been asked for his identification previously, Martino said. 

“All he had to do is say four words, ‘Show me your ID.’ You card everyone,” Martino said.