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BY RACHEL KONOPACKI
Two new restaurants in Harford County are set to open this coming week.
Piatsa Restaurant, a Greek restaurant taking the place of Vitali's Restaurant in Edgewood, is set to open Monday.

The Dark Horse Saloon, a Southwestern barbecue-style restaurant and bar taking the place of the Greene Turtle in Bel Air, is set to open Saturday, March 6.

Both new restaurants were granted liquor licenses at the Harford County Liquor Control Board meeting Wednesday.

The liquor license for Piatsa Restaurant was transferred from the licensees of Vitali's Restaurant.
Vitali's ceased its operations on Wednesday after the license was transferred, according to Kathryn Thess, administrator for the liquor board.

Licensees Anargyros Iliadis and Shane Hart plan to change the Italian restaurant into a Greek-style restaurant, which is scheduled to be open seven days a week from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The licensees of Dark Horse Saloon were granted final approval of their liquor license Wednesday, after a tentative approval last week.

Licensees Chris Reda and Gina Carapico plan to have a family-and-friends opening on Tuesday to prepare staff, and then a soft opening on Thursday and Friday with the grand opening on Saturday.

The restaurant will serve lunch and dinner with a Southwestern barbecue theme with menus items such as pulled pork, brisket, tacos, burritos, burgers and chicken sandwiches.

To compete with bars in the Bel Air area, Dark Horse Saloon will be hosting live entertainment on Friday nights.

The Greene Turtle closed in November 2009 after its owners said they were unsuccessful at renegotiating their lease with the property owner.

Marc McFaul and William McFaul, also known as Ropewalk Bel Air LLC, are the owners of the property.

Reda has a small interest in Ropewalk Bel Air LLC and also has a 90 percent interest in Strangers LLC, trading as Dark Horse Saloon, which will hold the liquor license.

In other business from last Wednesday's meeting, the liquor board had an informal discussion with a licensee from Bliss Coffee & Wine Bar in Bel Air.

Licensee Sarah Ortiz-Brown was brought before the board because the establishment is not complying with the license requirement that it serve two meals a day.

Bliss Coffee & Wine Bar has a B1 beer and wine on sale only license, which requires the establishment to be open for two meals.

The establishment, which has been in operation for two years, has served lunch and dinner in the past, but because of a lack of customers during the day the lunch service was stopped.

Thess presented the licensee with two options to correct the situation on Jan. 14: open at 2 p.m. for two meals or downgrade the license to a B2, which only requires food to be served during hours of operation.

With a B2 liquor license, Bliss Coffee & Wine Bar would be unable to request an upgrade to also serve liquor, without first reapplying for a license.

The licensee was given until the end of January to make a decision, but when no decision was made, Ortiz-Brown was brought before the board.

"We are just trying to come to a lawful resolve," Thess said.

Ortiz-Brown said the language about B1 licenses by the liquor board was unclear about the two meals requirement.

"That was my interpretation, which is why I assumed this was fine," she said.

Ortiz-Brown said she did not want to downgrade the license because she would still like to have the option of upgrading her license without reapplying.

Instead, Ortiz-Brown requested her establishment be allowed to open at 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, at 5 p.m. on Saturday and closed on Sunday, but her request was denied.

"We never go under a 2 p.m. opening," Chairman Donald Hess said. "Big licensees have wanted the same thing and we have the same argument 'two meals is two meals.' Once we establish you at a 3 p.m. opening we have set a precedent."

Hess suggested a fine dining license as an option, which would allow Ortiz-Brown to serve beer, wine and liquor, as long as the establishment serves a full-course dinner at least five days a week and is open by 5 p.m.

The only issue with the fine dining license was that it cost $2,000 more than the B1 license.

Thess said she understands that economic times are tough and some licensees are struggling, which is why Wednesday's discussion was informal.

The liquor board gave Ortiz-Brown until the next board meeting, on March 10, to make a decision.

The liquor board approved the temporary closing of American Legion 17 in Edgewood. Record-breaking snowfall early this month caused the roof of the legion to collapse.

The liquor board also approved one-day licenses for organizations that appeared before the board.

The Harford Artists Association was granted a one-day license for an art gallery event at 503 Churchville Road on March 13.

The association plans on having a new show the first Saturday of every month and serving wine at the event.

The John Carroll School was granted a one-day license for its annual fashion show to be held in the school's gymnasium on March 14.
The event is mostly for parents and other adults and will feature wine.

Sportsman's Chapter Inc. of the Izaak Walton League of America was granted a one-day approval for its wild game dinner Feb. 28.

The Havre de Grace Maritime Museum was granted a one-day license approval for its "Night at the Museum" event Feb. 27.

The board also approved four other one-day beer and wine licenses for the Harford County Public Library Foundation for its preview party on March 19, the Maryland Conservatory of Music Inc. for a concert and reception on March 20, the Havre de Grace Lions Club for an oyster, bull and shrimp feast on March 20, and the Family and Children's Services of Central Maryland for a wine tasting on March 28.

A one-day beer, wine and liquor license was also approved for St. Patrick Church for a St. Patrick's Day party on March 14.





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