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Mystery Surrounds Liquor License Renewal

| April 14, 2009, 01:00 PM | 16 Comments

Buddy’s Crabs & Ribs May Be Denied Liquor License

Iconic Buddy's Crabs & Ribs at the base of Main Street

Iconic Buddy's Crabs & Ribs at the base of Main Street

One of the most tenured businesses in downtown Annapolis may radically change, or disappear depending on the outcome of an upcoming hearing regarding their liquor license.

Buddy’s Crabs & Ribs has been a fixture on Main Street for 21 years and has been an exemplary neighbor to our community. They employ 150 people and make countless contributions to the community both in terms of money as well as services. They have employed literally thousands of our children over the years, my son included for his first “real” job.  And let’s not forget “the fire.” The Blonder family, owners of Buddy’s, came to the aid of Steve Samaras and Zachary’s Jewelers and offered them a store to use during the critical holiday shopping time–perhaps keeping this local jeweler’s business viable.

Now it seems that for some undisclosed reason, the City’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Board is protesting the renewal of their license. Without any justification given, Buddy’s will need to re-apply for a license as if they have never had one.

It seems that the crux of the issue may be the 2:00am license which has been held for 15 years. As anyone knows, Buddy’s is NOT the hotspot of the Main Street Binge and Barf crowd. You never see people stumbling down their steps and urinating in the flower pots.  We spoke with Kevin Blonder about the issue and he indicated that a loss of the license would cripple the business and the City could add yet another shuttered business to their ever growing roster. However, Kevin said, even a restricted midnight license would hurt him. “If I have someone eating a late dinner of crabs, why should I have to throw him out or refuse to serve him a beer at 12:06am; especially when we have been doing it for 15 years?”

Records indicate that Buddy’s has an exemplary record in adherence to the liquor laws.  There have been some issues in the past (trash collection) and Buddy’s has always been there to negotiate and work things out with the City and the Ward 1 residents.

So why now? Is this a witch hunt? It is beginning to smell like it. We contacted Ward 1 Alderman, Dick Israel, and he responded by email, “The renewal of Buddy’s alcoholic beverage license will be the subject of a public hearing before the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board on April 22d at 3PM in the Council Room. Charles Grayston, the chair, can tell you about the status of the license.” When we tried to contact Charles Grayston, our calls and emails were not returned until shortly before publication when the City Coordinator of Commissions, James W. Clark advised that Mr. Grayston refused to comment at this time and suggested we attend the hearing.

If you support our local economy and Buddy’s Crabs & Ribs, if possible, we encourage you to attend the hearing:

3:00PM, Wednesday, April 22, 2009
City Hall
160 Duke of Gloucester Street
Annapolis, MD  21401

If unable to attend, please send a letter in support of renewing Buddy’s existing 2:00 am liquor license to:

Charles M. Grayston, Chair
Alcoholic Beverage Control Board
160 Duke of Gloucester Street
Annapolis, MD  21401

It is time that we showed the City that we support our local community and our local businesses!

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About the Author - John Frenaye

John is the publisher and editor of Eye On Annapolis. As a resident and business owner in Anne Arundel County for nearly 25 years, he realized that there was something missing in terms of community news–and Eye On Annapolis was born in late spring 2009.

John’s background is in the travel industry as a business owner, industry speaker, and travel writer. In terms of blogging and social media, he cut his teeth with MSNBC.com.

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Comments (16)

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  1. Kathy Nieberding says:

    I will be there to support this family restaurant!

  2. They have a 2 a.m. license, but zoning doesn’t permit it. If you ask, they will disclose it.

  3. Eye Spy says:

    They do have a 2am license and the zoning was changed in 95 (?) to prevent new 2am licenses from being issued however Buddy’s was grandfathered in at this point. There have been no violation since then and now they are essentially taking back the grandfathering and making them reapply as if it were a brand new license. They want the 2am license to be able to sell after midnight (in the summer) when they have a late night crowd of boaters and tourists. A midnight license woudl require them to stop serving their customers at midnight–perhaps mid meal.

    The question is why all of a sudden did this come up? Politics as usual in Annapolis!

  4. SevernaPark Guy says:

    Probably the same [email protected]@hats that made this decision are in charge of the Market House. How the people of Annapolis put up with this stuff is beyond me.

  5. Matt says:

    The Blonder family is made up of Grade-A scumbags. They have destroyed many historic properties in our city (anyone driven by their tear-downs of colonial homes -oops, I mean -“new developments” in Cape St. John recently?), they have so many illegals working for them (will the Blonders ALSO ask that the Mexican flag fly over city buildings?), and have any of you tried to navigate lower Main Street when the usual Buddy’s drunks regularly roll out at night? Thanks to Buddy’s, drunken a-holes RULE downtown Annapolis! Seriously, if they consider themselves to be a quote-unquote restaurant as opposed to a booze mill, maybe they shouldn’t protest as much?!? ;)

  6. Eye Spy says:

    Matt you are entitled to your opinion for sure and we appreciate your reading this site. I cannot speak to your accusation of illegal immigrants; but I do frequent downtown a LOT and it is rare that a drunk stumbles from Buddy’s. Perhaps you have them confused with one of the other bars that offer live music and bands and DJs?

  7. Michael Blonder says:

    Hey Matt,
    I don’t know you, but my brother Kevin and myself, welcome the opportunity to have a real dialogue.At that time you will see that we are not “Grade-A scumbags” as you described.I believe you know where to find us, that would be Buddys.

  8. Matt says:

    Thanks for the thuggish “offer”, guys…

    Unfortunately, I’m a lifelong Annapolitan and not many of us locals (of legal drinking age) frequent Buddy’s. It’s a quality of life issue: We, the humble residents and taxpayers of Annapolis, have valid concerns about how the quote-unquote patrons of notorious venues conduct themselves in our community.

    Buddy’s has a real trash problem: I’m referring to BOTH the garbage buildup and the quote-unquote patrons that Buddy’s seems obsessed with intoxicating all night long.

    Here’s a challenge: Buddy’s, if you promise us your “establishment” won’t be responsible for trashing the people, the character, and the real estate values of Annapolis any longer, you…well, you’ll still be scumbags for all the crap you’ve caused, but at least you’ll be wealthy from it.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to take my daughter for a walk up Main Street and try to deflect her from all the F-bombs from your “patrons”: Thanks again guys! ;)

  9. Joe says:

    Hello Matt! I have been a resident of Annapolis for quite some time! I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t walk past Buddy’s! I know the family personally! I also have more than enough experience with the nights that you refer to…and, I’ve NEVER seen a smashed customer coming from Buddy’s! Your personal, probably misinformed opinions of the Blonder family have nothing to do with their liquor license! Mike’s offer to meet you didn’t sound thuggish to me! The late modern internet technology is very nice for some things, except when someone like you uses it to hide! I don’t think I’ll see you at the hearing…but I’ll be there!

  10. Eye Spy says:

    Matt– I am not a life long Annapolitan but have been here for 15 years. I frequent Buddy’s regularly for Sunday brunch and occasionally for dinner throughout the years.

    I assume that you made a conscious decision to live in Ward 1–a “downtown” area for several hundred years. I am not sure how old you are, but Buddy’s has been there for 25 years. When did you move? Could this be that you are now only taking this stance because of your failure to perform a due diligence?

    Yes, the Internet makes you big and powerful and able to toss..dare I say it “rhetoric bombs” against a business? Are you so strong on your position that you personally are willing to make up the lost revenue to the city if the revenue is lost from Buddy’s?

    You seem to be the expert, so (in my most non-thuggish voice), why don;t you and I meet on Friday evening at 830pm and park on the bench outside of Buddy’s and take a look at the crowd that comes out. Hey, if you want, we can do Saturday night as well.

    Your call!

  11. Matt says:

    Sorry to ruffle any feathers, guys!

    Guess my points were absolutely valid based on the venom you two continue to spew.

    I especially like the “rhetoric bombs” crack and the suggestion that I should reimburse Buddy’s (!) for their revenue loss if they have to clean up their act. Um, I’m guessing you’re somehow involved with the business (wink-wink)?

    Again, as an Annapolis resident, I apologize for daring to criticize a controversial family that’s used to getting its way…always. I just live here.

  12. Eye Spy says:

    Not involved with the family, just a patron. No venom, just trying to understand yours. I did not suggest you reimburse Buddy’s for lost revenue. I suggested that if Buddy’s closed or paid less taxes as a result of lost revenue, and the services you have come to know were impacted, you woudl not be opposed to paying an increase in your taxes?

    You avoided the direct questions. How long have you lived in the area affected by Buddy’s?

    ANd finally, the offer to pull up a bench on Friday and Saturday is genuine. I will even spring for a pizza at Mangia (I assume you would not eat at Buddy’s)

  13. Joe says:

    Hello again Matt! I think that you may need assistance in distinquishing the difference between venom and anti-venom…and the fear driven rantings of an affected ninny! I was at the hearing today and stated my name in favor of Buddy’s! There were only about four persons present that opposed Buddy’s! The others that were present were so many, I didn’t bother to count…all in favor of Buddy’s! A few employees, but the vast majority were concerned citizens and other local business owners! It just didn’t seem like a secret Buddy’s coalition! I was there…and I have nothing to gain except the gratification of keeping a good establishment…a good establishment!

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