OCEAN CITY— Councilman Joe Hall was put in a precarious position this week as his family’s restaurant received a RAAM (Reducing the Availability of Alcohol to Minors) violation for serving an underage cadet alcohol several weeks ago.
“My family and I are extremely embarrassed by what has taken place, and I believe it’s the first violation that we’ve received in over 30 years of having a liquor license in Ocean City, said Hall. “We plan on going to our hearing next month at the Board of License Commissioners and apologizing, and we will take whatever punishment is handed down by that body.”
Hall’s restaurant was not the only licensee that was nabbed by the Ocean City Police Department this summer, as a handful of local businesses had charges filed for RAAM violations since May.
Hall said that although he has worked hard to educate his employees to “triple check” a person’s ID, he said that the female employee who served the underage cadet, chose not to see the obvious.
“We have since let that employee go, but it is plain as day on the ID that the cadet wasn’t turning 21 until May of 2011,” said Hall. “She made a mistake, just like so many people have made similar mistakes over the years in Ocean City.”
Hall said he hopes that his relationship with the Play it Safe organization in Ocean City will not be affected by the recent violation.
Hall’s Restaurant has been an official headquarters of sorts for the 20-year-old, non-profit organization that works hard to promote an Ocean City experience for kids who are visiting the resort for senior week, sans alcohol.
“I don’t think it will hurt the relationship, said Hall. “The message has always been to try and get as many people to enjoy Ocean City without having to involve alcohol with the senior week kids. From the restaurant business’s perspective, we’ve always tried to teach that people need to be more responsible when dispersing the liquor to our customers. … It was a very bad and a very stupid decision that one person made in our establishment, but we will stand up and take the blame in September.”
Other violators this summer include Mitchell’s Market, Anthony’s Beer and Wine, the 64th Street Market, 9th Street Market, Sea Side Deli, 7-Eleven 139th Street, Oceans Market, Finnegan’s Princess Bayside, Quality Inn Atrium, Johnny’s Pizza Pub and Davey Jones’ Locker.