Selectboard revokes Wharf Street Restaurant license

Wed, 09/13/2023 - 11:30am


    Boothbay Harbor selectmen voted Sept. 11 to revoke the victualer’s license of Wharf Street Restaurant and Bar. The decision came after being informed the establishment does not have all of the licenses the state requires.  

    According to a signed letter from the selectboard, town code requires that every business licensed as a victualer, a business providing food, have all applicable licenses from state agencies. The letter said the state health inspector informed the town manager Wharf Street does not have a license through the state’s health inspection program. It also said the Department of Health and Human Services supervisor has confirmed the establishment is operating without a state license and has not applied for one.  

    The board voted 4-0 with Mark Gimbel abstaining. “I think there's been too much information here that’s been bounced all over the place. I haven't been able to feel confident in what I've heard or read ... So, I’d prefer to just remain neutral,” Gimbel explained. Alyssa Allen, Mark Osborn, Kenneth Rayle and Michael Tomko signed the letter revoking the license from the town effective immediately. 

    The Register reached out to Wharf Street Restaurant and Bar but had not gotten an email response by publication and received an error message on the establishment’s phone line. According to Wharf Street’s Facebook page, the business has been open and hosting events as recently as Sept. 9. On a visit Sept. 12, the restaurant was closed during open hours listed on Google. 

    In other business, Town Manager Julia Latter said the sidewalk rehabilitation project will continue on McKown Street starting Sept. 12. The work will be on McKown Street beginning around Gold-Smith Gallery and continuing towards Tigger Leather. She said a completion date is not available yet, but there are enough bricks to go to Sweet Bay on Townsend Avenue. According to a town announcement, McKown Street will be closed to parking and traffic will be limited to one way, northbound, to allow for a safe workspace and pedestrian pathway.  

    Gimbel expressed concern about upcoming Hurricane Lee. According to the National Weather Service, the hurricane could potentially hit Maine by Sept. 15 or 16, but the impact is still uncertain. Gimbel requested information on the town’s emergency plan and related emergency department reports.  

    In public forum, Denise Griffin of Boothbay Harbor presented a petition to encourage communication on, and explore alternatives to, the possible $89 million Community School District project. She said the petition had already been signed by hundreds of community members. She thanked Boothbay Harbor selectmen who had already agreed to meet with members of the Boothbay selectboard, who had also been approached about collaborative meetings, as reported in the Register. Latter said initial talks with the Boothbay town manager to schedule a joint meeting are scheduled for the week of Sept. 11.  

    Griffin also discussed the demographics in the region and said Boothbay Harbor pays a disproportionate amount for educating students compared to surrounding communities. She said that according to enrollment studies, that gap will continue to widen as Boothbay Harbor enrollment goes down and other towns’ enrollment increases.

    In response, Allen brought up fixing the state’s formula for funding and tuition to make the cost more equitable. She said regardless of the bond vote, the formula is an issue and asked what is being done at the state level to address it.  

    “Not enough,” said Griffin, who said planning should be going on now, even if it is looking five years down the road. This needs to be looked at as a bigger, statewide problem, she said.