NORTH PROVIDENCE – A new bar and restaurant planned at 1046 Charles St. will be allowed to serve food and alcohol, but won’t be authorized to offer entertainment of any kind.
Representatives from Kartier Bar & Grill objected to a barrage of questions from the Town Council last week, saying town leaders were treating them differently based on the negative actions of others before them.
Councilor Stefano Famiglietti said it’s not about giving them a hard time, but he needs to make sure operations aren’t going to negatively impact the people he represents in the Council District 2 area. Though he said he has particular concerns about a lack of parking at the building and that it will spill out into the surrounding neighborhood, he also noted that his concerns are not specific to the plans the owners have for the space.
Attorney Thomas DeSimone, speaking on behalf of the applicant, said he understands well as someone who lives in town the traffic issues that have cropped up near other establishments, saying he’s had trouble returning a rental car before because a parking lot had been completely taken over by the establishment next door.
DeSimone said it seems the council is trying to take out its frustrations on this one property owner, despite this owner never having an issue.
“I don’t think we’re trying to take it out on you, we’re trying to be cautious,” responded Famiglietti.
Steven Ramos, speaking as the representative for the applicants, said his family has been paying taxes on the property since 2007, and is just “trying to get it going” again after seeing vacancies in the building during COVID. The restaurant would not occupy the entire building, he said, pleading with the council to just give them a fair chance.
Town tax records show the family purchased the property for $640,000 in 2007.
DeSimone and Ramos said there are no plans whatsoever for a nightclub here, saying the only plans are for a restaurant and bar. DeSimone disputed suggestions that nearby residents might be impacted, saying there are numerous businesses and vacant spaces nearby but no homes.
After approving liquor and victualing licenses, the council voted 4-3 against approving an entertainment license.
Prior to the vote, Councilor Ken Amoriggi had asked Ramos about whether they were planning to have a DJ, a situation that has caused an issue as so many other restaurants have operated as nightclubs; Ramos said that no, there would be no DJ. The restaurant would stay open until 1 a.m.
Responding to Ramos and DeSimone growing upset over being held to a standard others haven’t been held to, even as they promised only light entertainment such as a jukebox or one person singing at a microphone, Amoriggi said councilors have been left with little choice based on the situations that have arisen in the past couple of years.
“People have literally lied to us, and shame on us for accepting their lies,” said Amoriggi.
After the no vote on entertainment, DeSimone got clarification that they would be able to come back for reconsideration of the entertainment license after they complete the build-out of Kartier’s, which is replacing the former L.A. Bailey’s Café that has been closed for many months.
For the first time at the Jan. 4 meeting, the council required applicants to be sworn in before testifying, saying it will better allow them to be held accountable if they end up running their establishments in a different way than they represented.
Councilor Mario Martone brought up the idea of a conditional or probationary license, but the concern was raised that the owners wouldn’t want to make a significant investment if they didn’t know they had the license.
Council President Dino Autiello then said he would be in favor of a compromise allowing liquor and food service, but not entertainment.
Famiglietti asked about sending the parking issue to the zoning official first to see if there’s adequate parking, but DeSimone responded that that’s not how it works. The property is zoned for liquor service, he said, and it had one until a year ago.
DeSimone emphasized that not one neighborhood resident attended the meeting to protest the application, despite Famiglietti’s assertion that he’s received some calls of concern from residents.
“If they’re really dissatisfied, they should be here,” he said, mentioning by name the many businesses operating nearby. “You’re not even giving a businessman a shot.”
Martone received assurance from the applicant that no dancing or hookah will be part of the operation of the full-service restaurant. He said that with Ramos speaking under oath, if there’s a material misrepresentation going forward, the council can call him back in and immediately pull the license.
Famiglietti voted yes on food, but no to liquor and entertainment at the restaurant.
“They did not provide us with enough information to give me a clear understanding of their operations, plus I’m very concerned about the limited parking and the potential effects it could have on the neighborhoods,” he told The Breeze.