Casa Rica offers to give up liquor license

NEWS-REVIEW FILE PHOTO | Casa Rica Restaurant and Sports Bar on East Main Street

Casa Rica Restaurant and Sports Bar in Riverhead, which was shut down earlier this month after several violent incidents including one where a man was attacked with a machete,  has offered to terminate its liquor license and pay a fine, according to the New York State Liquor Authority.

“Their attorney put in an offer that our council is considering,” said State Liquor Authority spokesman William Crowley.

The state took emergency action and closed Casa Rica, which is owned by Porterillo’s Corp,  Nov. 3 days after a man was stabbed several times in the torso in the bar’s bathroom. A hearing on the establishment’s liquor license was originally scheduled for Nov. 12 but was rescheduled for today, Friday. Today’s hearing was also canceled.

Lawrence Goldstein, the Hempstead-based attorney representing the East Main Street bar, made the offer Wednesday to terminate the license and pay a fine rather than go through with a hearing. When reached Friday, Mr. Goldstein refused to comment without prior approval from his client.

Mr. Crowley said if the State Liquor Authority’s attorneys agree to the deal, it will then go before its board of directors for approval.

The Riverhead Police Department has been called to the downtown establishment, which opened in Jan. 2009, 129 times since Feb. 5, 2009. This has resulted in 26 violations, two misdemeanors and 10 felony charges.

Riverhead Police Chief David Hegermiller, who learned of the deal this morning, said shutting down the bar saves the town overtime costs because the department stationed officers there during weekends .
“It will greatly reduce the crime [on Main Street] plus improve the quality of life,” he said.

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