Troubled Apple Valley restaurant Spoon loses its liquor license
- Article by: JIM ADAMS
- Star Tribune
- January 29, 2013 - 11:22 AM
A restaurant that has been a hot spot for police calls and city code violations will lose its liquor license, the Apple Valley City Council has decided.
The council voted 3-2 last Thursday to deny the license renewal requested by Spoon, 14871 Granada Av., deciding against giving the establishment's owners a few more months to correct problems under a temporary license. The owners have said a liquor license is essential to their staying in business.
Police say they've been called to the restaurant eight times since May 2011 to quell fights, most recently on Oct. 27. During the last tussle, patrons reported seeing a man pointing a gun, but police never found it.
Police Chief Jon Rechtzigel recommended that the council deny the license or approve one with strict conditions, noting that the eight serious incidents occurred when Spoon was rented to promoters for hip-hop or other events. Several guards provided by the promoters carried belted handguns and were seen drinking on duty during one such event, police said.
The owners, Kav Theng and Van Ngo, had agreed to hire their own guards and not to rent the hall to promoters if the city would grant a temporary license. But council members were taken aback on Monday by the owners' recent posting of signs promoting three upcoming events with music and dancing. The couple told the council that those events were private fundraisers, but that wasn't enough to sway them.
Fire department inspectors have warned but not cited Spoon for 27 fire code violations since January 2011. The violations include repeatedly obstructing fire exits and exceeding the 265-person occupancy limit, Fire Chief Nealon Thompson has said. He said at the last council meeting that he had met with the owners, who posted a correct occupancy sign and corrected a few minor violations, bringing them into compliance.
Theng, reached by telephone Tuesday morning, declined to comment.
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