Bar & grill owner plans to fight decision |

Bar & grill owner plans to fight decision

Chris Mitchell has waited and waited. On Friday, the decision finally arrived, but for Mitchell it only means more waiting. And as the months slip by, Mitchell said his business, the Greenstone Bar & Grill, is being stunted from reaching its potential.

The restaurant’s location on the 3000 block of Harrison Avenue was one of three choices for Mitchell. He said he chose it under the belief it had the appropriate permits necessary to meet his needs. When Mitchell applied for a beer and wine license he claims he was told by the Department of Alcohol Beverage Control that there were no restrictions. Later he found that alcohol could only be served from 5 to 10:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and from 5 to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Mitchell applied to increase those hours to 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. seven days a week and was denied by the ABC. The board said its denial was based on objections brought in 1995, when a former tenant tried to open a topless bar. Homeowners, school and city officials protested the 1995 application. The compromise that was finally reached resulted in the time restrictions Mitchell is fighting to change.

In September, Mitchell brought his case before an administrative law judge. A representative of the Al Tahoe Forest Homeowners’ Association, and the owners of one residence located within 100 feet of the restaurant also spoke to the judge.

Mitchell received his answer Friday, increased hours to include beer and wine service during lunch, but no late night hours Sunday through Thursday.

“I’ve got no choice. I have to appeal,” Mitchell said.

In appealing the decision, Mitchell is also drawing out the wait. Jerald Forsman, ABC district administrator, said the order does not take effect until Jan. 18, and then only if Mitchell accepts the decision as written. Mitchell can go through a series of appeals that would eventually end at the California Supreme Court, but it won’t allow him to change his hours anytime soon. Forsman said if Mitchell accepts the decision with its restrictions he can apply for a modification in a year.

Mitchell said he has no choice, but to continue to fight.

“I would never be here in this building if the ABC had answered my questions correctly in the first place,” Mitchell said. “We were trying to do something more here. We want to provide a sort of jazz club atmosphere, with entertainment, and dancing.”

The restaurant serves New Zealand Pacific Rim cuisine.

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