Buzz on Business: Wild Harvest, The Patio Gain Licenses

by | Feb 29, 2024

And new owners for 50 Main Street promise something ‘new and exciting’

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The Town Council Monday night granted an entertainment license to Wild Harvest, a liquor license to The Patio, and approved a liquor license transfer for 50 Main Street. 

Two weeks earlier, the council approved a new liquor license for Wild Harvest, at 1675 South County Trail, but tabled the entertainment license request after a number of abutters expressed concern about outdoor amplified music. 

On Monday, Wild Harvest owners Erica Maddalena and Mike Balsamo* told the council they had hosted a gathering of neighbors over the weekend to talk with them about their plans and field questions. They also had a guitarist/singer there who had performed for them in the past, so that the neighbors could hear for themselves the type of music Wild Harvest was planning to feature.

Maddalena said they also agreed to erect some privacy fencing and additional shrubbery between the restaurant and their closest neighbor to the south.

“We’re just going to try to continue to be good community partners,” she said. 

Public comment this time was more positive, with Kathy Hall, who lives next door, telling the council via Zoom, “My husband and I are really happy with the efforts that have been made. … We’re very happy. They’re great neighbors.”

“We did attend the meeting,” said another neighbor, Bronwryn Morrissey-Valorose, referring to the Sunday get together at Wild Harvest. “They played the music. It was not loud whatsoever. I was very much concerned before; I am not concerned now at all.”

Richard Portno, who lives in Pine Glen, a development across the street and south a bit, said he had not been alerted to the Sunday event and remained concerned. Mike Balsamo invited Portno to the restaurant, saying they would be happy to talk with him.

The Town Council thanked the owners for working with the neighbors; they voted 4-0 to approve the license (Council President Mark Schwager was absent).

The Patio, at 431 Main St., had originally sought both a new liquor license and an entertainment license but on Monday owner Jason Winpenny withdrew the entertainment license before discussion even began. He still has a tough audience with the three councilors who were weighing the application (Council VP Mike Donegan had recused himself).

Because The Patio had lost its license in January, it was starting new and, as such, had to fit under the original parameters of the license: 21 indoor seats and 7 parking places. That was what the restaurant originally operated under but when the Covid pandemic hit, the state allowed restaurants to expand seating to the outdoors. This allowed The Patio to tent the parking lot and double its seating capacity.

The town had argued for the past couple of years that the tent was too large; the owners closed the restaurant last fall, with a plan to reopen in the spring, and the tent came down. 

The councilors were leary because of previous interactions, including a municipal citation for over-capacity, as well as the too-large tent. Neighbors, too, complained about the traffic issues and large delivery trucks blocking Union Street (which is alley-like). They came ready to complain about noise too but the withdrawal of the entertainment license made those complaints irrelevant.

Councilors Renu Englehart (president pro-tem), Caryn Corenthal and Michael Zarrella voted 3-0 to grant The Patio a liquor license through July 8. 

If the owners decide they want to be able to serve patrons outdoors, they will have to apply for a zoning variance first. 

Finally, at the same meeting, the Town Council approved a liquor license transfer to 50 Main Street from the former Fifty Main Bar and Kitchen. Shannon and John Brito already operate Wickford on the Water and JB’s on the Water (in Jamestown), as well as River Falls Restaurant in Woonsocket. 

The Britos said they were hoping to open by June and were working on a new design for the interior. They did not say exactly what cuisine would be featured, other than to say it would be “something kind of new and exciting.”

*Mike Balsamo is a member of the EG News Board.

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Bruce Mastracchio
Bruce Mastracchio
March 1, 2024 6:53 am

Congratulations to Mike and Erica. Pleased to see they did it right and will, not only be good neighbors, but will show the way as to how things should be done.

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