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Aug 13, 2014 5:14 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Cyril's Fish House Liquor License To Be Cancelled

Aug 19, 2014 2:36 PM

The State Liquor Authority on Tuesday, August 12, decided to cancel Cyril’s Fish House’s liquor license, dealing a blow to the Napeague restaurant and bar, which is already involved in an ongoing battle with East Hampton Town to remain a summer hot spot.

Dianne LeVerrier, the attorney representing Cyril’s, said it’s unlikely that the State Liquor Authority would take the license away immediately. Even so, Cyril Fitzsimons, who owns the business, said on Thursday, August 14, that he was surprised to find out last week that he would be losing the license.

“Nobody told me nothin’,” he said in his Irish lilt. “It has cost me a quarter of a million dollars out of my f------ pocket to fight this for three years. It’s just harassment.”

The SLA board took issue with the 83 town regulations that Cyril’s is accused of violating. According to East Hampton Town officials, among them were the lack of site plan approvals and having no certificate of occupancy for certain structures on the site, as well as not getting permission from the State Liquor Authority for changes made to the bar and restaurant.

In its notice to Cyril’s, the SLA said that the establishment had transfered its liquor license to a space at the front of the licensed premises without the SLA’s permission, and that it operated more than one stand-up bar on the premises, again, without permission.

Two of the three SLA board members voted for the order of cancellation, while the chairman, Dennis Rosen, voted to revoke the license. A revocation is a more serious action that would prevent the restaurant from applying for a new liquor license for two years.

“That order of cancellation doesn’t take effect for a few weeks, and we intend to appeal that decision as well,” Ms. LeVerrier said last Wednesday afternoon. “They’re not coming out today and, in all likelihood, [the SLA] will not come out at all.”

Despite his attorney’s remarks, Mr. Fitzsimons was disturbed by the ordeal on Thursday morning. Sitting at a back table in his restaurant on Napeague—a table covered in magazines, papers, George W. Bush’s book “Decision Points,” and a pack of Marlboros—he said he believes the Town Board doesn’t want his business there, period, and that that will hurt his 28 employees.

“Every complaint, I’ve fixed,” he said, explaining that he spent $21,000 on rewiring the establishment. “I don’t know why they’re picking on me. I close at 9 p.m., there’s never been any Health Department violations ... there’s never been an accident outside [on Montauk Highway] in the 23 years I’ve been here. ... What is the problem?”

According to Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell, there are a lot of problems, but they all stem from one thing. “I think it’s simply about following the rules and laws we have in the town and in the state,” he said this week. “When you have a state liquor license, you’re obligated to follow their requirements, and obviously in this case that’s not what’s been happening.”

The argument from Cyril’s side is that the town’s Code Enforcement Department referred to old violations from 2012, which had been dismissed by East Hampton Town Justice Lisa Rana, according to Ms. LeVerrier.

And to settle whether the business is legally operating with a certificate of occupancy it has from the 1960s, which was for a gas station and snack bar, the town and Cyril’s have gone to State Supreme Court. The town alleges that Cyril’s has expanded its business without required building permits and certificates of occupancy and has operated over the years in an inappropriate zoning district.

The zoning for the site was changed from commercial to residential in 1984, and the existing improvements and structures there were considered nonconforming but pre-existing and therefore legal. Any additional improvements that expanded the size or intensity of use would be illegal without the requisite approvals. At the time of the zoning change, the spot was being used as a small restaurant.

Attorney Joseph Prokop, who represents East Hampton Town, said last week in a phone interview that last week’s SLA decision was “the final stage in a process that has been lengthy and gone on pending for some time.”

On August 12, when speaking at the SLA Board’s meeting, he said he was in favor of a revocation or cancellation of the liquor license.

“When I looked at the file for the Supreme Court case, the subpoena from the State Liquor Authority, it said the license was renewed every year,” he said. “The operator was swearing under oath that the premises was properly zoned ... and I believe you weren’t aware of the fact they had already pleaded guilty to not being legally zoned.”

Ms. LeVerrier said the Dioguardi family, which owns the property, will appeal the decision and that once that is done, there will be a stay in the cancellation during the appeals process.

Nonetheless, the SLA is adamant about keeping Cyril’s from serving alcohol until its proprietors show they’ve been abiding with the law.

“Clearly, there’s been a longtime disrespect displayed by the licensee. Just confining ourselves to the minutes of the hearing, the way they keep doing whatever they wanted to do, and there may be arguable defense to some of these things, but it’s clear they don’t answer to anybody,” SLA Chairman Dennis Rosen said at last Tuesday night’s meeting. “That scares me because there are people drinking alcohol. They’re wandering onto the highway ... I’ve been out there and this could create very a dangerous situation, and the one thing the board has to do is protect the safety of the public.”

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"...they had already pleaded guilty to not being legally zoned.”

Game Over
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Aug 13, 14 7:00 PM
Too bad the SLA will not look at the mess in HB that occurs every Sunday at the Barn. Drunks puking everywhere after being over served, drunks destroying property and generally diminishing what HB could and should be.
But hey, the SHTPD makes great money in OT there so why change a thing?
By G (342), Southampton on Aug 13, 14 10:14 PM
The only reason HB exists is because of over 50 years of those drunks coming to "your town," and spending "their money," to rent your homes, pay your taxes and create jobs for you locals.
By MsRainbow (19), Southampton on Aug 14, 14 1:24 PM
1 member liked this comment
Ms Rainbow - most of the drunks at the Boardy Barn are day tripping the train ride or driving in for the day. The only jobs they are creating are overtime for the bartenders, police and repair services for the damage from the destructive drunks.

Compare that to the jobs lost at the little shopping complex there since no one in their right mind would go there on the weekend afternoon evening to shop lest you get puked on or get to see people pissing in the parking lot.

Oh, ...more
By C Law (354), Water Mill on Aug 14, 14 4:28 PM
Get a grip.The Boardy Barn has a lot of history.Not everyone who go's to the Barn does what you say people do.I went to the Barn for 11 years straight and I NEVER destructed property or puked all over the place.The Barn has been open for 44 years.Tony and Mickie run it well.It could be open more then it is.They have the right to do so.Tony is an active person in the community.The Barn is well operated and their are bouncers everywhere.HB is a party town.And it always will be.I lived there and had ...more
By velcros69 (10), Rockledge on Aug 21, 14 11:21 AM
1 member liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By 27dan (2854), Shinnecock Hills on Aug 22, 14 9:27 PM
Has anyone passed by the Surf Lodge in Montauk the past few seasons? Talk about an accident waiting to happen....
By lhasabon (8), Wading River on Aug 14, 14 7:02 AM
1 member liked this comment
I say the exact, same thing every time I drive by that place!
By MTKGRL (15), Floral Park on Aug 19, 14 11:34 AM
Quick: somebody call Robert Irvine! We see a future Restaurant Impossible episode coming. Cyril's going to need a little help with his menu. And his decor. And his public relations. And his attitude.
By we could run this town! (129), the oceanfront trailer park on Aug 14, 14 10:12 AM
2 members liked this comment
I am sick to my stomach. I hope that they get this sorted out.
By jhand6847@aol.com (12), East Hampton on Aug 14, 14 10:15 AM
1 member liked this comment
Must've ate at Cyril's
By johnj (1024), Westhampton on Aug 14, 14 10:30 AM
Quick: somebody call Robert Irvine! We see a future Restaurant Impossible episode coming. Cyril's going to need a little help with his menu. And his decor. And his public relations. And his attitude.
By we could run this town! (129), the oceanfront trailer park on Aug 14, 14 11:10 AM
1 member liked this comment
It was a matter of time! This guy has been flippin the bird to town officials and police and the SLA for years. Good riddance. It's so scary trying to drive past there on the weekends, you never know who's going to stumble out onto the highway without the drivers being able to react in time.
By SisBoomBonacker (106), Hamptons on Aug 14, 14 12:48 PM
1 member liked this comment
No more BBCs? NOOOO

I love Cyrils and have been going forever. Although I think its become a little teeny bopperish lately, I don't want it to lose its license or shut down.

I saw the article mentioned the pop-up bar... if by that they mean the makeshift BBC station in the back to provide faster service during busy days, they are really splitting hairs. People on the sidewalk? Obviously, as is the case with almost every place along the highway (Surf Lodge, a bunch of clubs, etc). ...more
By poppyfields970 (1), New York on Aug 14, 14 1:35 PM
The only person they should investigate is the sanity of the state liquor authorities chairman. He personally knows about the boardy barn and the 100's of drunks that walk from the barn to the train station 3 miles away. He knows about the dozen cops working overtime watching the parking lot next to the Boardy Barn. The problem is so bad that the MTA even has four cops at the train station. I guess Mr Rosen is overlooking the law that it is illegal to serve an intoxicated person. This is called ...more
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Aug 17, 14 12:30 PM
2 members liked this comment
I miss the old Montauk, when it was a family vacation spot. Now it's Hampton Bays East. They closed all the nightclubs in Southampton and East Hampton, so all the drinkers headed east.
By btdt (449), water mill on Aug 20, 14 6:47 PM
2 members liked this comment
The Hampton's is one big party.People come out to have fun and let loose.It is not the same Hampton's when I grew up.So many place's have closed and that is sad.C.P.I. was the best and look at it now.It is an eyesore.Keep closing places and tourists will go elsewhere and that affect's the local economy.Joe from Uncle Joe's cries the blues every summer about the Barn but he love's the money he makes on the weekends especially Sunday's.You can't have it both ways.People live for the Summer.Do not ...more
By velcros69 (10), Rockledge on Aug 21, 14 11:30 AM
We don't need headaches like the Barn attracts. Some of these miscreants are the lowest of society, I wont go any where near uncle Joe's on a Sunday. I have witnessed vandalism, open drug use, people reliving them self in the road and even people getting busy behind the trees and building next door. Lets try and make Hampton Bays more like Bridge Hampton and less like a trashy up Island dump.

Low class destructive animals should where they come from.
By 27dan (2854), Shinnecock Hills on Aug 21, 14 12:05 PM
Until the endless town councils filled with elderly stop blocking young ideas and business coming in, along with blocking building cell phone infrastructure so something else will come along the nightclubs will remain. We want housing that's affordable for our Mcjob salary and not from 1950, We want cheap and fast public transportation, and something to do besides historical landmarks, clubs, hot lunch spots and overpriced clothing stores
By VargVikernes (2), Southampton on Aug 25, 14 9:42 PM
I find it very perplexing that whenever I speak truth about the barn no one every argues the point,

But know one ever agrees either
By 27dan (2854), Shinnecock Hills on Aug 21, 14 7:03 PM
i would imagine it is because people have memories of their younger days spent at this good place gone horribly bad

they have a feeling of nostalgia for it but cant defend the in defensible

every one has eyes and can see the garbage it attracts, same with dream
By Erin 27 E (1281), southampton on Aug 21, 14 7:19 PM
Actually Cyril, that money came out of he pockets of all those nitwits standing in your parking lot.
By we could run this town! (129), the oceanfront trailer park on Aug 22, 14 7:59 AM
1 member liked this comment