, Salem, MA

November 4, 2013

Chief seeks end to Oliveira's liquor license


---- — PEABODY — In the wake of multiple police calls, Chief Robert Champagne is urging the Licensing Board to permanently yank the liquor license of Oliveira’s Steakhouse on Walnut Street. He describes the business as a public nuisance.

In a letter to the board, Champagne cited “an ongoing condition, which the Police Department believes constitutes a hazard to the neighborhood, patrons and to any responding officers.”

Police reported a stabbing there early in the morning of Saturday, Oct. 12, with the victim sent to Salem Hospital while the attacker vanished. The following Sunday, also in the early-morning hours, two people leaving Oliveira’s were arrested at the scene of a fight. Referring to the two incidents, Champagne noted “multiple combatants where two felony assault arrests were made and multiple people were injured or hospitalized.”

Since January 2013, Champagne said, police have responded to calls about assaults and disorderly conduct on 12 additional occasions.

Last December, police dispersed an angry crowd near the restaurant, while a neighbor reported seeing a fight on nearby Paleologos Street, during which a car window was smashed. In April 2012, a promotion at the restaurant that invited drinkers and nondrinkers ended in a brawl.

“I requested action be taken to remedy the conduct and address the underlying causes and conditions to prevent further incidents, “ the chief wrote. “I wish to report that none of these concerns have been addressed in such a manner as to eliminate the hazard. ...

“This premise operates contrary to good public purpose and has demonstrated itself to be a public nuisance.”

In a letter sent in May 2012, Champagne faulted Oliveira’s for overserving drinkers and for serving underage drinkers. Loud music and crowds were cited as a concern as long ago as April 2011.

In addition to asking that the liquor license be revoked, Champagne, who is scheduled to begin his retirement shortly, wants cameras installed inside and outside of the place and a rollback of hours to 11 p.m.

A visit by Oliveira’s lawyer to the Licensing Board last spring resulted in questions over who actually owns the place, questions that were later settled. An effort to impose a 90-day suspension was stopped by an injunction.

The management of Oliveira’s could not be reached for comment.

Licensing Board Chairman Minas Dakos expressed concern and added that he will ask his colleagues to set a hearing date at their next meeting.

Alan Burke can be reached at