Last call?

BPD recommends liquor board not renew Station Pub’s license

by J.J. Jensen
    The Station Pub’s days of serving suds could be numbered.
    Nancy Parkhurst, owner of the embattled tavern at 1309 Railroad Ave., recently appeared before an administrative law judge and appealed the Washington State Liquor Control Board’s proposal to cancel the business’ liquor license.
    The judge has not yet made a decision on the license cancellation, said Tom Dixon, a Liquor Control Board enforcement officer, but rulings can take about 30 days.
    “We’re not in the job of putting a liquor licensee out of business,” Dixon said. “I consider it a last resort when we have to take somebody’s license away, because it’s not good for anybody. But, there are those times when, based on history and problems that are happening in and outside the premises, you simply have to cancel a license.”
    Even if the judge does not decide to cancel The Station Pub’s license based on the latest offenses, Parkhurst, who did not return calls for comment, could have a difficult time obtaining a new one. The Station Pub, which has had its current license since Aug. 31, 2000, must apply for renewal by June 30, if the decision to cancel the license is overturned on appeal.
    The City of Bellingham, through the mayor’s office, and Bellingham Police Chief Randy Carroll, have asked that the Liquor Control Board not renew the license. In the last two years, the Station Pub has received four violation notices from the Liquor Control Board for overserving customers, and its license has been suspended twice.
    The Liquor Control Board has received numerous complaints from residents, local businesses and police in recent months alleging overservice, and two weeks ago, there was a stabbing outside the tavern.
    In the past, said Carroll, when officers have kept a close eye on the tavern, problems there have decreased. When officers start relaxing their observation, however, calls for law-enforcement service there increase again. Carroll said his request to the Liquor Control Board is “a message from the city, through the Police Department and mayor’s office, that we’d prefer this place not be relicensed.”

Fiamma Burger a no-go in former Bellingham Inn

by J.J. Jensen
    A restaurant will still be the marquee attraction at the new Gateway Building, formerly the Bellingham Inn, but it won’t be Fiamma Burger as previously planned.
    The Zervas Group’s Mike Smith, the lead architect on the project at 202 E. Holly, said Dan and Ken Bothman, owners of La Fiamma Wood Fire Pizza, were recently unable to reach a lease agreement with property owners Lisa and Ron Woo.
    “The good news is we’ve got others right behind them,” Smith said.
    Smith declined to name what the new restaurant will be, but said it will have local ties. A lease has been tendered to both parties and could be signed by the end of this week.
    Two months ago, the Bothmans were on the verge of signing a lease with the Woos to open “Fiamma Burger” at the southeast corner of Railroad Avenue and Holly Street.
    Fiamma Burger was expected to have a completely different menu from the Bothmans’ La Fiamma Wood Fire Pizza, located nearby at 202 E. Chestnut St.
    Lease negotiations for the new restaurant, however, fell through about two or three weeks ago.
    “We just couldn’t come to terms,” said Dan Bothman, declining to give further details.
    While Fiamma Burger won’t be opening at the Gateway Building, it could still open elsewhere downtown. And its burgers will be available to customers by this summer.
    “We’re actively looking for a new location,” Dan said. “We’re hoping on Railroad (Avenue) or near Railroad.”
    In the absence of a new site, they will be serving Fiamma burgers from a concession trailer, Dan Bothman said. The trailer should arrive in four to six weeks, and the Bothmans hope to operate it at a space at the Bellingham Farmers Market.

Dig in! Bellis Fair to get four new eateries

by Dave Gallagher
    Bellis Fair mall is making major upgrades to its food service in the next six months, adding four restaurants that will occupy 13,000 square feet of space.
    Mondo Bistro and Desserterie has signed a lease for the former Elephant & Castle space; construction for Boston Pizza is set to begin this summer; Maggie Moo’s Ice Cream and Treatery will open this summer next to the movie theater; and J&J Mongolian Grill is scheduled to open this summer in the food court.
    Bellis Fair General Manager Dennis Curtis said the addition of the new restaurants is the result of customer surveys, which indicated that they wanted more choices.
    “The new dining options will complement our existing restaurants,” Curtis said.
    Mondo will move into the spot that was expected to go to Sammy J. Peppers, a Canadian restaurant chain. Cara Buckingham, marketing manager for Bellis Fair, said Sammy J. Peppers encountered some circumstances that caused them to delay, then eventually pull out of the project.
    “We’re excited to have Mondo going into the former Elephant & Castle location. Mall visitors enjoyed the full-service restaurant option at the entrance of the mall, and we think Mondo’s has a lot to offer,” Buckingham said.
    Mondo has 125 items on the menu, including appetizers, seafood, steak, chicken, sandwiches and signature desserts. The restaurant is scheduled to be opened in September.
    Boston Pizza has been long-awaited; the company first announced it was coming to Bellingham in the spring of 2002.
    The 5,700-square-foot stand-alone restaurant, located near Red Robin, has most of its needed permits approved and is just doing some tweaking to its designs, Buckingham said. The restaurant is expected to open this fall.
    Maggie Moo’s serves fresh-made ice cream on a frozen table, filled with customer’s choice of candy, fruit and nuts. The company’s website is
    J&J Mongolian Grill will be located between Ivar’s and The Great American Turkey Company.

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