Rooftop Music Change Denied By License Board

SNOW HILL – Officials last week denied a request to allow live entertainment on the rooftop patio of a longtime Boardwalk business.

The Worcester County Board of License Commissioners (BLC) voted unanimously to deny a request to permit amplified live entertainment on the patio of Tony’s Pizza. Christina Russo, general manager of the restaurant, said the busy, increasingly noisy atmosphere at North Division Street and the Boardwalk had prompted the request.

“There has been an increase in activity that happens outside of Tony’s Pizza,” she said. “We’re just trying to update with the times.”

Attorney Hugh Cropper, representing Russo and her father who started the business in 1966, said the restaurant was currently allowed only to have two-piece, unamplified entertainment on its rooftop patio. He said that restriction had been in place for some time.

“This is an old license,” he said. “We’re here because of changes in the neighborhood.”

Cropper said that with the wall surrounding the 400-seat rooftop patio and the plantings that adorned it, no one beyond the restaurant would be able to hear the entertainment even if it was amplified. He said the restaurant’s focus would remain food. Russo agreed.

“We’re just trying to add to the atmosphere,” she said.

Cropper pointed out that neighboring businesses already had live entertainment. Russo said emergency vehicles were also in the area frequently, increasing ambient noise.

“The area’s gotten a lot noisier over the last several years,” Cropper said.

He stressed that Tony’s Pizza was a family business and adding amplified entertainment would not change that.

“We really need places for families to take their kids,” he said. “They have to stay competitive.”

When asked if there were any photos of the patio available, Russo replied that she hadn’t brought any. BLC member Charles Nichols made the motion to deny the restaurant’s request, citing insufficient information.

“I’m concerned about public safety,” he said. “I’m concerned about Division Street.”

The request from Tony’s Pizza was the only one denied at this month’s meeting of the BLC. The board approved a liquor license for the new Residence Inn on Seabay Lane and approved an upgrade in the license for Fat Daddy’s on Baltimore Avenue. Ed Braude, owner of Fat Daddy’s, said he would be expanding the restaurant to include more seats and wanted the ability to sell liquor, as patrons had requested it. While the upgraded license will allow him to sell liquor as well as beer and wine, carryout sales will remain limited to beer and wine.

On Wednesday, the board also gave Lazy Lizard owner Stephen Carullo permission to host a Bike Week event Sept. 16 and 17.

The only liquor license violation on the agenda, a sale to a minor that occurred at Buck’s Place, resulted in a $500 fine for the Route 611 business.

Last Wednesday’s meeting was the first for new BLC member Marty Pusey. Pusey was appointed by Gov. Larry Hogan July 1 to fill the seat previously held by Marc Scher, whose term had expired.