Select Board Orders a Three-Day Alcohol License Suspension on Eatery for Instance of Serving Underage Customers


Image by succo from Pixabay.

Westwood Select Board has imposed a three-day alcohol license suspension on Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza (Anthony's) in a remote public hearing on May 22nd, following a report by Westwood Police that a bartender there had served alcohol to two underage customers in March. 

This is a second offense for Anthony’s following a violation over four years ago. Anthony's is a restaurant located in Westwood's University Station, which is a mixed use development that includes eateries, shopping, living spaces, and a gym. 

Of the three-day suspension, Select Board decided that one day will be served on a date to be coordinated by Anthony’s with Westwood Police, and two days will be held in abeyance for one year. The two-day suspension will be activated if a third offense occurs within the year, and would take place on the immediately following Friday and Saturday. If no further violation is found within a year, the two-day suspension will be dismissed.

The Select Board’s new chairperson, Marianne LeBlanc Cummings, noted that Westwood welcomes Anthony's as a business, but takes the offense seriously.

Select Board Clerk Robert Gotti observed that the one-day suspension will send a message, while the potential to activate the two-day suspension on the weekend creates an adequate incentive to comply.

On March 23, 2023, as part of a routine check, Westwood Police sent two 18 year-olds into Anthony’s where they ordered alcohol. They were not asked to provide any identification. When a bartender served them alcohol, the teenage operatives notified a detective sergeant and officer via text. The officers then came into the restaurant to speak to the manager.

At the hearing, Westwood Police Chief Jeffrey Silva explained that such checks are routine on liquor license holders in town, and no trickery or ruse is used. He noted that although serving alcohol to minors is a criminal offense and “arrestable,” Westwood Police do not seek to create a “gotcha” moment, but seek to achieve compliance.

Attorney Elizabeth Episano who represented Anthony’s stated, “We would like to apologize to the board and the Town of Westwood. Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza takes this very seriously. We do accept full responsibility.”

Attorney Episano listed the remedial actions that she said Anthony's has taken. She said that staff are receiving pre-meal reminders of proper service of alcohol and have retaken their tip certification course. Ms. Episano stated that managers from other locations of the restaurant chain will check on the Westwood location to ensure that patrons are being carded. Employees must sign a form stating they understand and will adhere to rules regarding alcohol sales. The bartender who served the two minors in March has been suspended. Lastly, Anthony’s new policy is to check the identification of every person ordering alcohol.

While it was not stated as a remedial action, Attorney Episano also requested that Select Board approve a change of manager. The candidate for the position was described as being employed by Anthony’s since January, with five years of managerial experience in the food and beverage industry. He was not present during the March violation. Select Board unanimously approved the request.

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