Aunt Aleda’s sent a letter to Mansfield selectmen on Wednesday that requested a bring your own booze (BYOB) approval for the restaurant.
While the recently closed Mangia Bene had a similar arrangement for over three years, the request brought up a much larger concern for Mansfield selectmen, the fact that the town has no policy concerning BYOB in restaurants.
“I think we need to put policy in place,” said selectman Kevin Moran. “Right now, there’s nothing prohibiting and there’s nothing controlling it.”
Selectman George Dentino said while Mangia Bene approached the town and got permission when it started the initiative, the Massachusetts Alcohol Beverage Control Commission has no jurisdiction concerning BYOB establishments.
“There’s got to be something was put in place,” he said. “[Liquor licensed establishments] have the responsibility in training and serving… are we being told that for three years at least that someone has been operating with this without an agreement? We don’t look too good on this one.”
While there is no government policy in place in Mansfield, the true authority lies with the owner. Since the owner of such an establishment would hold the liability if an underage person brought in alcohol, they still take the same risks as a licensed establishment but without the required training.
“The responsibility and liability is where I think is a problem,” Dentino said.
Selectman Jess Aptowitz said that such an establishment could hurt the business of other establishments that pay their fees and liabilities on top of operation costs. He said that BYOB establishments wouldn’t have to worry about that, and also they would not be contributing to the town in the same effect as bars/restaurants.
“These other people are paying fees,” he said. “The place isn’t making money on it, the town’s not making any money on it. They’re hardworking people and they want to make a go at it, I respect that … I whole heartedly support the applicant here but we need to talk about what the policy said.”
Town manager William Ross said that there will be an agenda item on this for the next meeting in January.