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Huntington Station restaurant gives up liquor license

The owners of Melissa Restaurant in Huntington Station

The owners of Melissa Restaurant in Huntington Station have given up the facility's liquor license to satisfy charges against it by the state liquor authority, the agency said. Photo Credit: Steve Pfost

A Huntington Station restaurant beset by violence in recent years has surrendered its license to serve alcohol to satisfy several charges brought against it by the state liquor authority, the agency said.

The owners of Melissa Restaurant at 1419 New York Ave. offered to give up their license in response to the pending charges against them, said Bill Crowley, spokesman for the liquor authority.

Some of the violations included allowing the premises to become disorderly, allowing others to use its liquor license, and the sale of counterfeit or untaxed tobacco products, according to state documents.

A string of violent crimes has occurred at the restaurant, with the latest happening on Oct. 22, when a man fired gunshots in front of the restaurant. In March, a man was shot in the arm in the parking lot, and in 2014, a man was found stabbed to death behind the restaurant.

The cancellation of the license will not be effective until the state liquor authority board votes on the matter at its next meeting on Tuesday. But since the license was surrendered on Nov. 18, no alcohol can be sold or served at the restaurant.

The owners of the restaurant, Jose and Maria Bautista, also paid a $1,000 penalty to the state in response to the infractions levied against them, Crowley said.

Scott Lockwood, the North Babylon attorney representing the Bautistas, said the couple now is in the process of selling the business.

“They are getting harassed a lot, so they are just going to sell it,” Lockwood said. “They were clearly scapegoated for the problems that the police and town were unable to control.”

Huntington Town Board member Mark Cuthbertson, who has been calling for months for the restaurant’s license to be revoked, said the business had been targeted “because of the well-documented criminal activity associated with the location.”

“We can all breathe a sigh of relief that due to the actions of the New York State Liquor Authority and the Suffolk County Police Department that it’s finally last call for the service of alcohol at Melissa Tavern,” Cuthbertson said.

“I don’t see how driving family-owned businesses which have been there for more than 20 years is going to help Huntington Station in any way, shape or form,” Lockwood said.

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