Council drops hammer on East Providence businesses caught serving alcohol to minors

east buffet

EAST PROVIDENCE — The East Providence City Council, as part of a series of show-cause hearings at its Tuesday, July 16, meeting, dropped the hammer on two local establishments in response to them having served alcohol to minors during the most recent under-age drinking sting conducted by the East Providence Police Department and the East Providence Prevention Coalition.

East Buffet, located on Newport Avenue, was hit the hardest of the businesses after it was stung for a third time in less than a year. The Council voted unanimously, 5-0, to fine the restaurant the maximum $1,000. In addition, East Buffet was ordered closed for one business day, which is Friday, July 19. Of most impact to the establishment, its license to serve alcohol was suspended for a period of six months ending Dec. 1, 2013.

Brookfield Liquors, located on North Broadway, was also penalized harshly by the Council for its second underage service infraction in the last year and third overall. The Council ordered the package store closed Thursday, July 18, through Saturday, July 20, and fined the business the maximum $1,000 as a third-time offender.

The other of the show-cause hearings was held for the Comedy Connection, located on Warren Avenue. The club was caught serving minors for a second time during the most recent sting. A representative of the business told the Council all of the Comedy Connection employees have been re-certified in alcohol service guidelines and new identification scanning equipment has been purchased to better parse underage customers.

All told, nine city establishments were caught up in the sting. According to EPPD Community Police Sergeant John Andrews, that total exceeded any in the last four years of the program, which uses mostly 17 and 18-year-old youngsters to test the city’s publicly-accessed liquor stores, restaurants, clubs and bars. The sting, conducted in February and March of this year, encompassed 63 such establishments in East Providence.

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