License Board OKs Plaza’s License Shift

SNOW HILL — A popular West Ocean City restaurant will be packing up and moving to nearby Ocean Pines this winter, while two new convenience stores at opposite ends of Worcester County received beer and wine licenses from the Board of License Commissioners (BLC) this week.

With six locations on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, two of those in Worcester County, Mexican restaurant Plaza Tapitia is a familiar sight to many. On Wednesday, owner Armando Saldana appeared before the BLC to request a liquor license transfer from the company’s West Ocean City location to a new building in Ocean Pines on Manklin Creek Road. As far as service goes, Saldana explained that the new restaurant will be basically identical to what currently exists, only at a new spot. The only change to the license will be the addition of a five-piece mariachi band, which will play one night a month from 6 to 9 p.m.

Moving the store to reach a new market in Ocean Pines will result in the current location being closed on Dec. 22. Saldana told the board that he expects minimal downtime and hopes to have the Ocean Pines establishment up and running by early January. The BLC quickly gave the license transfer a green light.

Similar to Plaza Tapitia, two new applications by convenience stores to receive beer and wine licenses made it through the board with no dissent and minimal comments.

In Berlin, owner John Derrickson came to the meeting to request a license for his new store, Pitt Stop Beer and Wine, which will be located on Worcester Highway.

“We’re looking to do something classy,” he said.

While there are three similar stores in proximity to Pitt Stop, Derrickson argued that his will fit into the area’s niche and will not detract business from other locations. He also promised to operate his store strictly in line with all county alcohol rules and regulations.

 “I run a very tight ship,” said Derrickson.

The situation was slightly different with the board’s final applicant, Pocomoke Beer and Wine on Newtowne Boulevard.

While Derrickson was entering a market where several other licenses already exist, Pocomoke Beer and Wine, owned by Sam Patel, will be “filling a public need” since the store will be the only one in the area with a license, according to attorney Hugh Cropper, who represented Patel.

“There are no other beer and wine sales on this side of the county,” said Cropper.