Town ‘building a case’ against Royal Dorado after closing it down


Two days after a stabbing was reported at an East Main Street establishment, Riverhead Town authorities shut it down yesterday, saying the business was operating without proper permits. In the wake of several violent incidents there, the town is also working on making sure the business doesn’t get its liquor license renewed.

A stop work order posted on the door was dated for Aug. 3, two days after police said a man was stabbed in the parking lot at Royal Dorado Deli & Restaurant, located at 1005 E. Main St.

Saturday morning’s incident was the third violent incident reported by police in recent months, after a man was allegedly hit in the head with a beer bottle on July 25, and another stabbing in the parking lot was reported in May.

“We’ve had our eye on it,” Police Chief David Hegermiller said on Tuesday morning.

The stop work order posted on the business entrance notes that the owner of the building, Santos Vanegas, has violated two sections of town code. Namely, according to the town’s senior building inspector Brad Hammond, alterations have been done to the building without receiving a certificate of occupancy.

Supervisor Sean Walter said on Tuesday morning that the town is “building a case” for when the company goes to renew its liquor license at the end of September.

“Like Casa Rica, they are going to fall by the weight of their own sword,” said Mr. Walter, pointing to the past incidents that have taken place there.

Mr. Walter said that the building, which previously housed Gallo’s Seafood, is allowed 16 seats inside the location, though the town counted nearly 30, possibly adding a health code violation for over-occupancy.

Neighbors around the E. Main St. establishment — both residents and businesses — reported having a range of experiences with Royal Dorado over the past several months. One neighbor said that the past six to nine months have been “bad,” noting that late-night fighting and loud music has not been uncommon on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. However she hasn’t called police due to fear of retribution.

E. Main Street resident Teddy Kujawski said that his car was broken into last week late one weekend night though because of a car alarm, nothing was taken. Mr. Kujawski said that over the past nine to 12 months, he’s noticed an increase in foot traffic in front of his house late at night on weekends.

Other neighbors, however, haven’t noticed a thing.

“I stay at my place, and they stay at theirs,” said William Allen, who has lived across the street from Royal Dorado for about 15 years. Raul Arur, a few doors down to the north, echoed those sentiments.

The manager of J&L’s Chicken, Fish & Ribs, Mattie Johnson, said that she hasn’t seen any trouble coming from Royal Dorado either. Though someone tried breaking into the business not long after it opened, they’ve had no problems since.

A man who said he was the manager for Royal Dorado declined to comment when reached by cell phone, noting that he was going to get in touch with his boss.

Chief Hegermiller said that both stabbings remain under investigation. Nobody has been charged in either incident.