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Owners of troubled restaurants try again in downtown Riverhead

gloria's cafe site

The former owners of two restaurants with checkered pasts are seeking to open a new restaurant in downtown Riverhead.

A corporation called Riverhead Cafe Inc. wants to open Gloria’s Cafe at 155 Griffing Ave. The State Liquor Authority’s advance notice to the local municipality describes the proposed venue as a restaurant with a full food menu, selling liquor, wine, beer and cider and having both live music and recorded music with DJs and karaoke.

The building is owned by Adajet Realty Corp., headed by Rosa Tejada, who is also listed as president of Riverhead Cafe Inc. 
Rosa and Luis Tejada were listed by the SLA as owners of the former Charlie Brown’s restaurant in Hampton Bays, where four men were charged with repeatedly stabbing two other men in 2016. And Mr. Tejada was previously listed as president of the company that owned the Crystal Bar on West Main Street in Riverhead, which lost its liquor license in 2007 due to what police said were numerous assaults and disturbances. 

Town officials aren’t thrilled with the idea of the new restaurant.

“No way,” Councilwoman Jodi Giglio said in an interview Friday. “It took us years to get rid of them the last time, when it was Crystal Bar. And now, they want to come back under a different name?”

“I’m opposed to this only because I know what that brings,” said Councilman Jim Wooten.

The Tejadas live in Wading River, according to the state Board of Elections and Mr. Tejada’s email address is listed on the current SLA application. 

This is not the first time Mr. Tejada’s family has attempted to open a bar at the Griffing Avenue location. In 2012, a corporation called Rosa’s Cafe sought to open a “tavern” at the same site under the name Michelle’s Cafe.

The owner of Rosa’s Cafe was listed on SLA files as Roberto Marroquin of Coram. 

But Riverhead Town officials discovered at a public hearing on the proposal that Mr. Marroquin’s full name is Roberto Carlos Marroquin Tejada, and that he is Luis Tejada’s stepson. 

Mr. Tejada was also listed as business owner on an architectural drawing for the Michelle’s Cafe proposal, and the applicant told town officials at the time that they would serve only microwaved food.

The Town Board rejected the proposal.

The Crystal Bar lost its liquor license in June 2007 after a number of incidents occurred there. 

At one point in April 2007, police said an intoxicated man tried to flee a disturbance in the parking lot behind the business and ran over another man, dragging him for nearly a mile before stopping. Mr. Tejada said at the time that the incident happened in the parking lot, and not in his bar. Another police report said a man threw a brick at another man who was attempting to remove him from the bar. A third report said a bouncer at the bar was cut on the hand with a razor blade by a man he was trying to remove from the bar. 

“Who’s to blame? The bar or the guy who threw the brick?” Mr. Tejada said in an interview at the time.

The SLA listed at least six stabbings at the bar during 2007. 

The incident in Charlie Brown’s in Hampton Bays took place in 2016 when four men, ages 18 to 23, were charged with stabbing two other men, including a 30-year-old Riverhead man who spent a month in a hospital with what police called “grave” injuries.  The incident occurred about 4 a.m. in the parking lot of the bar, police said. The restaurant now has new ownership and a new name. 

Neither Luis nor Rosa Tejada returned messages seeking comment for this story. 

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Photo caption:  The proposed site of Gloria’s Cafe at 155 Griffing Ave. (Tim Gannon photo)