SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

November 21, 2013

Dates set for license suspension

Onion Town co-owner promises to improve operations

BY ETHAN FORMAN
STAFF WRITER

---- — DANVERS — A co-owner of Onion Town Grill apologized this week for what a selectman said was an unheard-of two instances of liquor-law violations within a year.

Co-owner Don Harwood promised to improve operations “in a way that will make the town of Danvers proud.”

The restaurant’s liquor license has been suspended for three days, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, Dec. 3, 4 and 5.

Harwood said the staff will not lose a paycheck, because the business will use the time to clean and reorganize inventory.

Selectmen suspended the restaurant’s license last year for three days for serving an underage patron. The penalty was held in abeyance, however, on condition there were no more problems.

In June, however, the state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission uncovered several violations, including that the restaurant had purchased liquor from someone other than an in-state distributor and that it had a funnel in a storage area, used to transfer liquors from one bottle to another. That led to a five-day suspension, held in abeyance for two years.

Those violations, however, prompted selectmen to order that the original three-day suspension be served.

“I think you abrogated your responsibility as a license holder,” Selectman Bill Clark told Harwood. Clark said it was the first time in his eight years on the board a license holder has had two instances within a calendar year.

Harwood said that the 13 bottles that were purchased from someone other than a distributor, in violation of state alcohol regulations, were meant for his nephew’s Father’s Day party the following weekend. But Clark noted that they were on the premises, regardless of where they were meant to be drunk.

Selectmen originally intended the suspension to be served Wednesday through Friday, but an apparent miscommunication resulted in a clerk’s sending the business a letter ordering the suspension Tuesday through Thursday. The board decided not to change the dates.

Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at eforman@salemnews.com or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.