Tisbury selectmen Tuesday approved a common victualler’s license for Cafe Moxie, clearing the way for the long-awaited re-opening of the Main street restaurant.
Owner Michael Ryan told the selectmen that he also planned to apply for a beer and wine license, and the restaurant is almost ready to open.
“We hope to open very, very soon; we’re pretty much ready to go,” Mr. Ryan said.
In the spring, selectman Jeffrey Kristal criticized Mr. Ryan for being slow to open; the original Cafe Moxie was destroyed in a 2008 fire and Mr. Ryan bought the building in November 2010.
Mr. Ryan said Willie Wannamaker will be the chef, and the menu will be similar to what it was at the last iteration of the restaurant: steak, seafood and burgers.
“I’ve got a comment,” Mr. Kristal said Tuesday. “Congratulations.”
After selectmen approved the license 2-0 (selectman Jon Snyder was not at the meeting), there was scattered applause in the room. Mr. Israel pressed Mr. Ryan on when the restaurant would open its doors.
Mr. Wannamaker said he expected it would be within two weeks.
“You know that a week is seven days, right?” Mr. Kristal said.
“If you’re not open in two weeks, I’m sure someone is going to let you know about it,” Mr. Israel added.
In other business, selectmen held a vicious dog complaint hearing for two pit bulls belonging to Jennifer Lehman. Animal control officer Laurie Clements said the dogs, a male and a female, chewed through a wire enclosure and “went on a rampage” one night in their Franklin street neighborhood. Ms. Clements said the male pit bull has since been relocated to western Massachusetts, and that Ms. Lehman has complied with every request she has made. The selectmen agreed to the dog officer’s suggested conditions that the enclosure be repaired by Oct. 1, that the dog be under a one-year restraint order and that Ms. Lehman is not allowed to have any more pit bulls.
“For right or for wrong, it’s a pit bull, so I will not be so lenient the next time around,” Mr. Israel told Ms. Lehman.
Peter Cabana provided an update on work he has done to secure state grants from the state and Cape Light Compact, for $140,000 and $90,000 apiece, and asked for the board’s blessing to schedule audits for the grants. He also said that an Excel file would have to be created for every town project, and said this would require between 25 and 30 hours of work per week through the rest of the year. He told selectmen that he is willing to do the work for $75 an hour, which would create a tab of about $30,000.
Mr. Israel said he was concerned about finding a source to pay him. “I want you to do it, I think that you’re the man to do it,” he said. “Right now we don’t have money in hand, we can’t spend money without the permission of the town. That’s the only issue.”
“This is something you guys are just going to have to think about,” Mr. Cabana said, saying that if the town can’t find a way to pay him, they would have to find someone else to do the work.
The selectmen also briefly addressed a well-publicized confrontation between a taxi driver licensed in Tisbury and a videographer covering Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren’s visit to the Vineyard. In late August, Martha’s Vineyard Taxi owner Morgan Reitzas got into a confrontation with someone filming Ms. Warren’s visit, with his attorneys later saying that he was trying to protect his four-year-old daughter, who was inside the cab.
“To not answer what happened would be dereliction of our duty,” Mr. Kristal said, suggesting the selectmen send a letter to Mr. Reitzas’ attorney clarifying violations of taxi regulations, including regulations stipulating professional conduct. “We don’t condone that behavior.”
“I concur,” Mr. Israel said, adding that he would support a letter of warning to the cab operator saying that if a similar incident happens again, the selectmen would consider having a hearing, disciplinary action, or taking Mr. Reitzas’s license.
Town administrator John Bugbee questioned whether there might be a problem with having a child in the taxi, and selectmen agreed to investigate whether that is part of existing regulations, and if not, to draft an addition.