September 30, 2023
Annapolis, US 69 F

Mystery Surrounds Liquor License Renewal

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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