With SLA investigation still pending, Royal Dorado reopens


Shut down after multiple violent incidents occurred in early August, the Royal Dorado Deli and Restaurant on East Main Street in Riverhead reopened last week.

The building, which was operating as both a bar and deli when it closed, is currently functioning solely as a deli. It is in compliance with the town building and zoning codes as a deli, said Supervisor Sean Walter. Part of this required restructuring the space and removing seating.

“They’re open; everything comes down to the SLA,” he said. “They’re in compliance with the town building code since they converted everything back to make it a deli. So the town doesn’t have the ability to withhold permits from it because it’s in compliance with the zoning code. So now the question is what will the State Liquor Authority do.”

After seeing “lights on and people there” around 7:30 to 8 p.m. on Friday night last week, WRIV 1390 radio host Bruce Tria had brought the matter up a couple of times this week on the air. He asked Councilman Jim Wooten about the company’s status on Monday and on Wednesday, asked Councilwoman Jodi Giglio. Neither was sure at the time if the company was legally open.

Prior to being shut down by the town on Aug. 3 the town alleged that building owner Santos Vanegas, violated two sections of town code. Namely, according to the town’s senior building inspector Brad Hammond, alterations had been done to the building without receiving a certificate of occupancy.

Mr. Walter said at the time that the town was “building a case” against the business. There is still an active investigation pending with the State Liquor Authority and the town summonses are still pending in Riverhead Town Justice Court, Mr. Walter said.

A stabbing occurred in the deli’s parking lot in May, a man was hit in the head with a beer bottle in July and a second stabbing was reported Aug. 1, just two days before the establishment temporarily closed.

“We’re gonna stay on top of the situation because these guys were not conducting themselves as good business owners and neighbors, so we will stay on top of them and if they make even one wrong move we’ll be right there to issue them tickets,” Mr. Walter said. “Again, we have an active investigation against them and hopefully, eventually, either they’ll come in to compliance and there won’t be any problems or the SLA will yank their license.”

The owner of Royal Dorado Deli and Restaurant was unavailable for comment.

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Credit: Nicole Smith file photo