Rocco’s Pizzeria in Vineyard Haven will have its beer and wine license revoked because the owners refuse to switch from paper plates to china.
The town bylaw allowing beer and wine sales in restaurants stipulates that china and glassware be used for food and beverage service.
At the Tisbury selectmen’s meeting Tuesday, restaurant owners Peter Sullo and Christopher Pantalone asked for permission to continue serving food on paper plates rather than on formal dinnerware as their license requires.
“We aren’t fine dining,” said Mr. Sullo. “We are basically serving sandwiches and pizza. We aren’t like everybody else; it doesn’t make sense for us to serve on china.”
The selectmen unanimously voted not to grant relief from the requirement.
“Why should we treat you different than any other business?” asked selectman Jonathan Snyder. “We have all sorts of restaurants, all sorts of establishments in town that run the range from fine dining to very casual. I don’t see a reason to treat one restaurant different.”
At least one other business owner agreed.
“I just want to make sure all businesses are on a level playing field,” said Joshua Goldstein, whose family owns the Mansion House.
Selectman and board chairman Tristan Israel said the town had originally agreed to allow the restaurant to use paper plates for a year if the owners went ahead with plans to install a dishwasher and buy dinnerware. But Mr. Pantalone said they had no intention of doing either, citing the prohibitive cost.
“If they can’t meet the letter of the law with what the town passed then they are not eligible for a license,” concluded selectman Jeffrey Kristal.
The board voted to revoke Rocco’s beer and wine license effective May 1.
Mr. Kristal remained upbeat about the outcome for Rocco’s.
“It offers something that no other town has,” he said. “Everybody is talking like the death of Rocco’s is here. Now it’s a BYOB place.”