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Columbia Spectator Staff

Local Mexican restaurant Papasito withdrew its application for a new liquor license last week in the face of opposition from neighbors and allegations that it sold liquor to underage drinkers, according to a spokesperson from the State Liquor Authority.

Last month, the application was temporarily denied because of missing paperwork, but the owners chose not to submit the required documents and instead withdrew their application, said SLA spokesperson Michael Smith.

Papasito, located on Broadway between 104th and 105th streets, has come under fire from locals over rowdy, late-night crowds since it opened last fall. Members of Community Board 7 voted to disapprove Papasito's liquor license application in December.

"Community boards are our partners in this process," Smith said. "When they're in opposition, it leads us to believe that there are problems with the current business."

Papasito is facing a number of other issues, including charges from the SLA that they served alcoholic beverages to underage drinkers three times in October and November, based on an NYPD and SLA investigation.

"We have taken disciplinary action against them," Smith said. The charges could result in a revocation of Papasito's current liquor license and a two-year prohibition against the issuance of a liquor license to any business at its location.

"There are many people in the community who have written letters against the business in general," Smith said. "Based on the allegations against the current applicant, there are quality of life issues for residents."

Furthermore, new allegations have surfaced that Papasito violated labor laws concerning minimum wage, according to DNAinfo. A spokesperson with the state Department of Labor told Spectator that there is an ongoing investigation but could not comment further. Smith said that the SLA had no information about possible labor violations.

Papasito owners were not immediately available for comment.

Papasito is currently serving liquor with a license for Tokyo Pop LLC, a restaurant that was replaced by Angelina Pizza Bar, which was then replaced by Papasito. The license for Tokyo Pop expires Feb. 28, but owners could apply to renew that license. If they were to do so, however, they would still be facing the charges of selling alcohol to underage drinkers.

Look for more on this story in Tuesday's issue.

casey.tolan@columbiaspectator.com

Restaurants papasito liquor license Community Board 7
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