Past Criminal Offense Delays Mahwah Restaurant Owner’s Liquor License
Council is likely to approve the license despite owner's past guilty plea
Mike Barone, the owner of Macarthur Boulevard’s The Grille, will likely be able add a bar to the western-themed restaurant, but must first reappear in front of the township council to have his application for a liquor license officially approved.
According to township attorney Andy Fede, a background check on Barone’s liquor license application revealed that he had incorrectly filled it out by not admitting to any past criminal convictions.
According to Mahwah Police officer Michael Grassi, who performed the check, Barone pleaded guilty to harassment in Hillsdale in 2002.
“I didn’t realize a disorderly persons offense was a criminal conviction,” Barone told the township council last Thursday. “It wasn’t my intention to check the wrong box [on that question of the application.]”
Barone told the council his guilty plea was the result of a verbal altercation he had with a Hillsdale police officer in 2002 over a wrestling match between the two men’s sons.
Grassi confirmed that Barone has not been in any legal trouble since then.
The council, who could have denied Barone’s application for either its incompleteness, or if it felt he had committed a crime of “moral turpitude,” said Thursday it will likely approve the license request once the restaurant owner re-submits his application with the correct information on it. The five council members at the meeting Thursday voted 4-1 in a straw poll to approve the license application once it has been resubmitted.
Barone, who said he was happy to resolve the matter, is planning to convert a counter currently in the restaurant, into a full bar. He plans to make it wooden, to fit the western theme of the restaurant, and said he hopes to have it up and running by November.