The former operator of now defunct Video Mania in East Mansfield wants to open what will be the only restaurant on the East side of town, and appealed to selectmen Wednesday for an all alcohol license for the as yet unnamed eatery.
Demetrios "Jim" Glaropoulis presented his case to the board through Mansfield attorney Edward Valanzola, who told the board the decision had been made recently to close the video store, as well as the Icy Bean coffee shop in the same plaza on East Street.
The plaza is also home to , a dry cleaner, and a hair salon.
"The license only became available recently," said Valanzola. "We have talked about appealing to the state to issue another license, and this license was issued (to the town.)"
Valanzola said the plan is to combine some of the vacant space created by the closures, and open an American/Greek restaurant and bar.
Valanzola pointed out the nearest restaurant for that part of town is Maguire's in Easton, several miles away. "There is nothing else," he said. "Everything is in the center of town, at Mansfield Crossing, or in Foxboro on Route 140. There is a need - this will offer a different menu and layout. It will be attractive, with a nice view." He added the restaurant may eventually have an added deck.
Selectmen emphasized they wanted the staff of the 98-seat restaurant and bar to be trained in the alcohol awareness course known as TIPS. Kevin Moran observed, "I hope the staff has experience -- a sit-down restaurant and bar is a different thing - you have to hire the right people."
"I wish you nothing but the best of luck," said George Dentino. "Two businesses closed because off the economy. It's nice you are going forward to make another business work."
Valanzola said the owners hope to have the restaurant open by the end of the year, and said the plans were in the works well before the liquor license became available.
The next stop for the proponent is an occupancy permit and a hookup to the town sewer system, and Valanzola requested the board give the owners until the end of the year to get the permits and construction details ironed out. The license will have to be renewed in December, along with all the other licenses in town.
"It's important to get on top of this," said chairman Jess Aptowitz. "An empty strip mall doesn't look good."
The all alcohol license was granted to Glaropoulis in a unanimous vote.
"All we need to see is work going on in the plaza," said Moran.
"We will convince you it's not just to get the license," said Valanzola.
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