It’s last call for at least two years at Melissa Restaurant in Huntington Station.
The New York State Liquor Authority denied a new application request for a license for the restaurant, known locally as Melissa’s Tavern and a place that has been beset by violence in recent years.
The previous owners in November surrendered the license to serve alcohol to satisfy several charges brought against Melissa’s by the state liquor authority.
The full authority board voted June 8 to deny an application submitted by Rosa Alvarez De Romero, the sister of the previous license holder, based on “character and fitness” of how the tavern was run previously. They also expressed concern that she was related to the previous owner.
“We know now with certainty for the next two years there won’t be a liquor license at that location,” Huntington Town Board member Mark Cuthbertson said. “I’m thankful the state liquor authority took into account all the information they received about the criminal activity and violence at Melissa’s.”
Cuthbertson had provided the liquor authority with a 19-page document that included police reports and newspaper reports of violent activity associated with the tavern at 1419 New York Ave.
Matthew Fleischer, the Mineola-based attorney representing Alvarez De Romero, did not respond to requests for comment.
The previous owners, Jose and Maria Bautista, gave up their license in response to the pending charges against them and paid a $1,000 penalty to the state, a spokesman for the liquor authority said previously.
A lawyer who represented the couple in previous liquor authority proceedings said the couple sold the establishment but he didn’t know when.
Long time Huntington Station resident Jim McGoldrick, who has been active in efforts to quality of life, said denying the license for the tavern is another positive step toward that goal.
“Any establishment that endangers the public safety can’t be tolerated,” McGoldrick said. “If you want to run an establishment you got to run it fair and clean and you can’t have any issues, especially violence including gun shots.”
McGoldrick said any concern about a building being vacant is outweighed by the sense of safety that removing a place that attracts criminal activity brings.
“Once the crime is cleaned up, and the revitalization program will help address that, someone will rent the space,” McGoldrick said. “Public safety is the number priority, children shouldn’t be raised in a neighborhood where Friday and Saturday there is all types of violence going on, including shootings.”