Bristol council moves to help restaurant get back on its feet

Statesman Tavern owner appeals to council following liquor license suspension

By Christy Nadalin
Posted 9/16/21

Statesman Tavern owner Christopher Kleyla appeared before the Bristol Town Council at its Sept. 8 meeting with a request for one additional class BB liquor license. Earlier this year, the Statesman …

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Bristol council moves to help restaurant get back on its feet

Statesman Tavern owner appeals to council following liquor license suspension

Posted

Statesman Tavern owner Christopher Kleyla appeared before the Bristol Town Council at its Sept. 8 meeting with a request for one additional class BB liquor license. Earlier this year, the Statesman lost its license after several months of failing to comply with town requests to pay for its license renewal.

Armed with a sincere apology, an explanation of the impact of COVID on his business, and letters of good standing from the state Division of Taxation and office of the Secretary of State, Mr. Kleyla’s petition was well-received.

“I didn't receive the Restaurant Relief Fund money, and I was holding out for as long as I possibly could,” Mr. Kleyla said. “I fell behind on my taxes … Its just been economically and emotionally devastating, but my goal is to get it up and running again, so I need one more liquor license from the town.”

Mr. Kleyla noted that the Statesman Tavern has operated successfully in Bristol for six years, with no issues with police or fire — a claim that was backed up by both departments submitting letters asserting they have no objection with offering a license to the restaurant.

“I apologize for any headaches that I gave you guys,” Mr. Kleyla continued. “I know, the last thing that any of you ever wanted to do was actually pull the license … So I’m just here doing my best to get this get this business up and running again.”

The council was very receptive.

“We had an earlier agenda item, we spoke about creating licenses and giving an additional license to someone who had an outstanding track record in the town,” said Chairman Nathan Calouro. “That was a very humble mea culpa.”

Mr. Calouro also said that the council did not want to suspend the Statesman’s license but felt their hand was forced. “In this instance the latitude went on very long,” he said. “We want to be fair, and if we allow long lapses we have to do it for everyone.”

“You’re a great business in town, and we want you to stay here,” said Councilor Tim Sweeney, prior to making a motion that the council ask the solicitor to draft an additional class BB liquor license. So with that said, I’m glad you’re back.”

“I just want to wish you luck. I think of how difficult this has been for businesses, and I really hope that you’re able to emerge from this stronger,” said Councilor Aaron Ley. “We’ll be rooting for you.”

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