The long, strange saga surrounding Seward Park Liquors just got a little weirder.
Last year at about this time, the board of the Seward Park Cooperative decided not to renew the liquor store’s lease, in favor of a new wine and liquor merchant. After a contentious, public battle, owner John DeBlasio vacated the storefront at 393 Grand St. in January. After doing business for more than 40 years in the same spot, he made plans to move to another location a few blocks away.
Both DeBlasio and the new operator, Vin Family Inc., appeared yesterday before the State Liquor Authority (SLA). DeBlasio was approved for a permit at 53 Ludlow St., while the new Grand Street business was denied. In rejecting the liquor permit at 393 Grand St., commissioners said the area was over-saturated.
Vin Family principal, Anastasia Ceballos and store manager, Kevin DeBernardi, plan to file an appeal. Meanwhile, DeBlasio intends to open his new store in a couple of weeks, after renovations are concluded.
Last October, the State Liquor Authority, blocked the new Grand Street permit because Seward Park Liquors had two outstanding violations (one for selling liquor to an underage customer, one for processing a purchase with an EBT card). Fines for those violations were later paid, presumably clearing the way for both liquor permits to win approval yesterday.
While the Vin Family application was listed earlier on yesterday’s agenda, DeBlasio ended up being heard first. In approving the Ludlow Street license, the SLA stated that Seward Park Liquors had no violations since 2002 (there was apparently some kind of bookkeeping snafu). When it was Vin Family’s turn, the commissioners ruled that, while the applicants were qualified, there were already too many liquor stores in the neighborhood. The owner of Delancey Wine, located at 35 Essex St., showed up to protest both new permits.
You can click here to read our past stories regarding the Seward Park Liquors-Seward Park Co-op saga.