BATAVIA – Thirteen businesses in Batavia were cited in a recent liquor enforcement campaign carried out by the Batavia Police Department’s Investigations Division, which is the highest number of citations from a compliance check ever seen by Mayor Jeff Schielke.
A news release from the city indicated that more than a third of the businesses checked – 13 out of 34 – failed the check.
The businesses included package liquors, as well as restaurants and taverns.
The following Batavia businesses failed the checks:
• Smash Burger, 842 N. Randall Road.
• Chili’s Grill and Bar, 491 N. Randall Road.
• El Casanova, 1890 Mill St.
• Pepe’s, 4 S. Van Buren St.
• Aliano’s, 90 N. Island Ave.
• East China Inn, 140 W. Wilson St.
• East China Inn, 9 S. Randall Road
• Gammon Coach House, 3 S. Batavia Ave.
• Open Range American Grill, 35 N. Water St.
• Pal Joey’s Pizza, 31 N. River St.
• Berkley’s Finer Foods, 28 S. Van Buren St.
• Windmill City Liquors, 101 S. Batavia Ave.
• Aldi’s Foods, 451 N. Randall Road.
“I guess I would describe myself as ... exasperated by the results of our police compliance check,” Schielke said. “We checked 34 different licensees and to have this volume fail the test is very, very disheartening to me.”
He said there were a lot of businesses on the list that have never had problems with liquor violations before.
Pal Joey’s Pizza owner John Hamel said the compliance check happened sometime last month, and it’s the first time the restaurant failed.
He said the bartender did check an ID, but misread it and has been subsequently fired.
“It’s a necessary thing – police have to do their job,” he said. “I’m very upset at what happened, and we moved to make a correction as quickly as we could. We addressed it with the staff making sure they understand what the guidelines are.”
All servers, bartenders and clerks who served the minors while supervised by police officers were issued citations, according to the release.
They’ve been given notices to appear in court, Schielke said.
He said police check every liquor license holder in the city when they do compliance checks, and revenues from fines go toward a special fund used by Batavia police for educational programming.
Schielke, who also is the city’s liquor commissioner, said he’s working with a city attorney to enter a compliance agreement with the facilities that failed.
The agreement would allow the violating liquor licensees to pay a fine and ask the server that violated the liquor code to participate in Basset training.
Another compliance check will follow at some point after, he added.
He said if business owners are not willing to submit their employees for training or pay the fine, they’ll go through a full liquor hearing.
“Because of the volume and the number of first-time offenders, we’ll try to go easy on the whole thing,” he said.