Hoo-boy, we’re hungry. Let’s see, what’s in the fridge? Nothing. What’s in the wallet? Only $99.95. Well, I guess that’s enough for a TV dinner at Babalu.
Eh? Wallyhood tipster John pointed at this article in the Slog :
On November 18th, the WSLCB sent a letter to the owners of the Babalu Mambo Lounge—located at 1723 N 45th St—informing them that the state was pulling their liquor license for failing “to act as a bonafide restaurant.”
State liquor laws require all bars—which are technically licensed as restaurants—to prepare and serve full meals to customers for several hours a day.
According to documents provided by the city attorney’s office…Babalu’s menu at one point consisted of five “1950’s TV Dinners,” including The Babalu Chicken Pot Pie, Lucy Light Fish Fillets, the Desi Arnaz Hungry Man, the Fred Mertz Salisbury Steak and Ricky Ricardo Spaghetti & Meatballs, all priced at a whopping $99.95 each. State law requires bars and clubs to have a kitchen and a cook on staff, who actually prepares food on site.[…]The city’s letter to the WSLCB also notes complaints from neighbors about the club’s noisy and sometimes violent crowds, and a 2007 citation by the city for failing to attain the proper zoning permits for the bar, which is smack in the middle of a relatively quiet residential neighborhood.
But as a Slog commenter Comte notes, though, there are “literally dozens of similar ‘cheats’ that” the WSLCB has turns a blind eye toward, “unless some other violation comes up that’s simply too egregious to ignore.” So what’s the “other violation” here? Something to do with the Rolls Royce parked out front every day? Could there be a clue in the second article, from July 2007, that John pointed us to?
…last week, all 11 staff members at Wallingford’s Babalu: The Mambo Room walked off the job, several staffers report. The reason, they say, is because Shaun Williams—a friend of Babalu owner Michael Prineas—threatened a bartender.
After closing, on Friday, July 13, the bartender, a young woman who wanted to remain anonymous, asked Williams to lock the front door. According to former Babalu bartender Patrick Pacyga, who was on the scene, “Shaun… physically threatened her. It was scary actually. He’s a large guy. It was weird how fast he flared. He had to be physically restrained and three guys had to escort him out.” According to several other staff members, who asked not to be named, the 6-foot-4, 300-pound Williams told the young woman he was going to “bury [her].”
Williams says he “did not threaten to ‘bury’ her,” but admits that he was at fault for the incident. According to Williams, he told the woman, “‘What you need to do is shut the ef up, bitch.’ It was my fault, but I never threatened anyone in any way. I take 100 percent responsibility for what I did wrong.”
Babalu’s owner, Prineas, says his staff left because “it wasn’t a good fit for the people that were here.”
Former staffers seem to agree. They say they felt unsafe working around Williams, who they say hung around a lot. They also cited problems with Prineas’s management style.
Former bar manager Elizabeth Williams says she had to pay several bands out of her own pocket after Prineas failed to pay for performances.
Prineas counters Williams’s accusations. “I’m old school,” he says. “I do things according to the book. If people don’t show up on time to play, don’t expect to get the full amount of money.”
Yow. OK, Mr. Soprano, capiche! And yeah, that’s Prineas in the middle above.