NORTH PROVIDENCE – Still skittish over multiple instances where establishment owners have sold a milder version of their business plan than the nightclub atmosphere they ultimately had planned, town leaders last week postponed a vote on licenses for another restaurant and bar to January.
Attorney Thomas DeSimone explained to the Town Council at its Dec. 7 meeting that the new Kartier Bar & Grill at 1046 Charles St. would be a restaurant and bar, and not a club, with some soft music and entertainment.
Council President Dino Autiello then asked what DeSimone meant by entertainment, and the attorney responded that it will be music, perhaps jazz, or a DJ performing while people are eating or having a drink at the bar.
Autiello asked if there’s an issue with the number of parking spaces and whether there were any issues with parking in the past, and applicant Steve Ramos said he doesn’t think there was an issue in the past.
Council member Ken Amoriggi said the applicant should draft at least a tentative floor plan.
DeSimone said owners of the former L A Bailey’s Café shut down during the pandemic and left the property owners with a vacant space without notice.
Ramos, speaking for the family and license applicant Kathy Fernandes last week, responded to questions from the council on hours of operation, saying he expects it to be open from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m., but for the kitchen to close at 10 p.m. Asked what will take place for the last three hours, he responded, “nothing crazy, just wrapping up” and having people socializing.
Mayor Charles Lombardi said he visited the site and had some questions about the plan, including on parking capacity and exactly how the business will operate in multiple storefronts. He said he told the owners to be careful what they planned, and said zoning will have a lot to say on the business’s operation in the months ahead.
Ramos and DeSimone said they have no plans for hookah or pool tables, saying they want to keep this as a restaurant and “stay away from all that” and any issues that cropped up at the previous restaurant.
Autiello said North Providence has had a culture in recent years of applicants coming before the council and selling themselves as restaurants and then opening nightclubs. He said the council means no offense with all of its questions, but needs to make sure their concerns are addressed on behalf of constituents.
DeSimone said he lives in town himself, and he’s been assured by the owner that “that’s not going to happen” here, and it’s “not going to be a nightclub.”
Ramos and DeSimone said they really don’t have real design plans drawn up yet to show seating, but Amoriggi said there have been plenty of times when the council has accepted a hand-drawn floor plan.
Councilor Steve DiLorenzo asked about security at the restaurant, and Ramos responded that they would require any private parties that are renting space at 1046 Charles St. to hire their own security. But Amoriggi then asked about regular security, adding that it’s nothing against these particular owners, but he can think of five other establishments where they claimed to just be serving food and then expanded.
DeSimone said the difference here is that the family has owned the property for years and doesn’t want to lose it. The applicant said the building has been empty for two years as the family has continued to pay taxes on it.
Officials expect a number of hearings in the new year to discuss plans more in-depth, particularly on parking. The council will consider the matter again at its Jan. 4 meeting, including requests for liquor, victualing and entertainment licenses.
In addition to a floor plan, Autiello said he also wants the applicant to submit a food menu before the next meeting.
Also at the Dec. 7 meeting, the council:
• Approved a liquor license for Shane Piche and Stella Sweets at 2009 Smith St. Hours at the dessert restaurant will stay about the same, said Piche, with breakfast and earlier hours added after the first of the year. The restaurant would close after lunch and reopen again after dinner.
• Approved a victualing license for Rui Heber Macedo to open his fast casual Famous BBQ in the 1101 Mineral Spring Ave. space previously occupied by Giuseppe’s Italian Bakery. Macedo said he expects hours to be about 11 a.m. to 9 or 10 p.m., with an emphasis on takeout orders over seating. Council members, including Amoriggi, said they’re looking forward to having a new BBQ option. Councilor Steven Loporchio said he hopes the sauce is spicy.