License Board Grants Restaurant’s Outdoor Expansion

SNOW HILL – The Worcester County Board of License Commissioners gave the Crush and Crab restaurant in Berlin limited approval to expand seating and entertainment options.

John Cookro and Valerie Hopkins came before the Board Monday with their plans to add outdoor tables, a fireplace, live music and karaoke.

Although the board granted Cookro’s request for outdoor expansion and indoor music, it denied him privileges to provide outdoor entertainment until he talks with the neighboring church and nearby residents.

Cookro told the board that he did not confront the church about the restaurant’s outdoor music, but assured board members that the church’s members are frequent guests of the establishment and might like the music when they visit.

“I don’t see us doing music on a regular Sunday though,” Cookro says.

The board also addresses concerns of the restaurant’s close proximity to Route 113.

Chairman William Esham and the board agreed that outdoor seating might pose a risk for the Crush and Crab’s patrons and passing vehicles.

“I would look at it more favorably if you had a lattice fence that is 48 inches high,” Esham told Cookro. “(The patrons) would be shielded from traffic.”

Current plans show the fence placed 45 feet from the highway.

Cookro and Hopkins agreed to these concessions, but purposely wanted travelers to see the outdoor seating and entertainment.

“We are having trouble with visibility, and people are asking us about it,” Hopkins says.

However, Hopkins agreed that the music would be a distraction to motorists.

The board granted the Crush and Crab’s plans to include 24 outside seats, a 48-inch high lattice fence, a trellis covering and two pieces of indoor live entertainment that will include karaoke.

The fence will run along the south side of the building, where the wall mural is located, and will extend 12 feet from the sidewalk.

Although the board denied the Crush and Crab’s request for one or two pieces of live entertainment outside, Esham told Cookro and Hopkins to see how things go with the outdoor service first.

“You are always welcome to come back,” Esham says.

The board also met with Longboard Café owner Richard Vach and server Morgan Fagan for selling alcohol to a minor.

Fagan was serving at the restaurant when she failed to ask the customer for identification.

“I assumed she was of age,” Fagan says.

Vach’s lawyer told the board that the owner always insists that the server come to a manager with questions regarding age and valid identification.

Although Fagan served a minor, the manager on duty was attentive to the situation and cooperated with authorities, according to the testimonies.

The board says they will place a report in the restaurant’s file, but will not take further actions, given the establishment’s lack of prior offenses.

The board also granted alcohol licenses to Jeff Hamer of Fin’s Alehouse and Raw Bar in Berlin at the former home of Leaky Pete’s and to Hale Harrison of Oceans at 33rd, which will be located within the Quality Inn and Suites Beachfront hotel in Ocean City.

For Harrison, the license includes the entire hotel building and a future rooftop pool bar. For Hamer, the license covers the outdoor decks on the first and second floors.

The board also granted Hamer’s request for live entertainment.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.