PEABODY — It’s back to court for the owners of Oliveira’s Steak House, who are appealing the city’s Licensing Board order that they stop serving alcohol after 10 p.m. for six months.
The order, issued last week following a second hearing into alcohol-related issues around the Walnut Street restaurant, took effect Monday.
But this afternoon, the lawyer for Oliveira’s, Jack Keilty, will ask a Salem Superior Court judge to issue a preliminary injunction stopping the sanction from taking effect.
The appeal, filed Tuesday afternoon, is also asking a judge to vacate the entire order.
The board’s decision, Keilty argued in his complaint, “was unlawful for the reason that almost none of the incidents which served as justification for the rollback of the hours ... occurred on the plaintiff’s licensed premises, nor was evidence presented to the board which would have warranted such a finding.”
Peabody police have responded to numerous disturbances and fights outside the eatery, many involving large crowds that require the presence of practically the entire shift of officers, including the shift commander.
The incidents include one in April 2012 in which two women were put in custody, and bystanders then helped one of the women escape from the cruiser. Another incident, last October, involved a fight that left a man lying motionless on the sidewalk.
The adjacent St. Vasilios Greek Orthodox Church has also reported that patrons leaving Oliveira’s are causing damage to the church property. The board also heard reports of tables being set up in the church parking lot.
The Licensing Board initially voted to impose the rollback of hours in November. But last month, a judge issued an injunction, finding that the restaurant was not given proper notice of a proposed disciplinary action.
Judge Howard Whitehead recommended that the board conduct a new hearing with prior notice to the restaurant’s owners, and that hearing took place last week.
During that hearing, Keilty told the three-member board that owner Sebastia Gomes has installed security cameras and now uses a metal-detecting wand to search patrons. The restaurant also ended a regular “Latino Night” that drew crowds from all over eastern Massachusetts.
Keilty argues in his appeal that there will be no harm to the public interest if the sanction is delayed while it is under judicial review, whereas his client’s business will suffer if the sanction remains in effect.
Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.