Update, May 22: Porterdale Bar and Grill owner Linda Crawford told city officials that all issues will be resolved prior to the restaurant reopening.
According to City Clerk Megan Reid, Crawford said the sign on the right of way in front of the small shopping center where Porterdale Bar and Grill is located will be hauled off within the next week or so.
Crawford also assured the city that her daughter and former owner, Lindsay Crawford, will not be employed at the restaurant has a job elsewhere. Lindsay Crawford is not allowed to work at a business in Porterdale that sells alcohol, because Crawford's alcohol license was previously revoked by the city.
Original story, May 18: The Porterdale Bar and Grill is planning to reopen June 1 under new ownership after being closed for nearly a year following the Porterdale City Council’s vote to revoke the prior owner’s licenses to sell beer and wine and liquor.
The restaurant’s owners are looking for a fresh start, but there appear to be some unresolved issues remaining between the city and new owners, including whether a sign at the business must be torn down and whether the prior owner can work at the restaurant given her license revocation for non-payment.
The restaurant, located at 52 S. Broad St., was sold from Lindsay Crawford to her mother Linda Crawford, under the company West Newton Investments. Linda Crawford is securing her own alcohol licenses and business licenses.
The Porterdale council had a work session last week and discussed two ongoing issues with the restaurant. City Manager Bob Thomson said the sign in front of the business is still standing; the sign violates the local ordinance, and officials said it was supposed to be removed as part of the agreement that gave Linda Crawford alcohol licenses.
However, Jimmy Crawford, Linda Crawford’s husband, said later in the week he did not believe taking down the sign was part of the agreement and that no one from the city has notified him of any issues. He said he believed the sign was grandfathered in under the law.
Mayor Arline Chapman said she also heard that Lindsay Crawford was still going to be working at the restaurant. According to Porterdale City Clerk Megan Reid, city ordinances state that when a person’s alcohol license is suspended or revoked, the holder of the license cannot engage in the business of selling alcohol until the license is reinstated. Lindsay Crawford has still not caught up on past-due payments, Reid said Thursday, including a portion of her liquor license fee and more than $500 in excise taxes owed to the city.
Again, Jimmy Crawford said no one told him that Lindsay Crawford could not work at the restaurant. He said he would check with his attorney to get clarification on the issues.
"You think they would have brought it up before now," Crawford.
Crawford said he was disappointed in the way the issue was handled in the first place, considering the city didn’t work with his daughter, who is in her mid-20s, but instead chose to revoke her license for a first offense. At the time of revocation, city officials expressed disappointment that Lindsay Crawford didn’t attend meetings where the issues were discussed.
Jimmy Crawford said the whole situation has been a mess, but he was looking forward to getting back into the restaurant business.
Plan for restaurant
Assuming the restaurant is allowed to open as scheduled, Jimmy Crawford said customers would see a big difference in both the atmosphere and menu.
He said he was in the process of totally rehabbing the restaurant when the license was revoked. He’s invested around $20,000 in the building, including new floors, walls and decorations and cleaning up the kitchen, he said.
As far as the menu, Crawford said it is getting it an overhaul.
"We want to try to make it a place where people can come eat and drink and be merry," Crawford said. "There’s going to be a lot of fresh food cooked, not packaged.
"We’re probably going to try to find local suppliers, farm-to-table suppliers. We’re going to try to go to local markets and find local produce."
Crawford said he expects to be the primary cook, at least at first.