2013-07-11 / Front Page

Jamestown Tavern closed for business

By Tim Riel


The parking lot was empty during lunch hours Monday afternoon at the Jamestown Tavern. The owner earlier that morning closed the restaurant for business. 
Photo by tim riel The parking lot was empty during lunch hours Monday afternoon at the Jamestown Tavern. The owner earlier that morning closed the restaurant for business. Photo by tim riel Island police officers visited the Jamestown Tavern Monday afternoon, but not for a cheeseburger and fries. Their take-out order consisted of a liquor license, holiday license and victualler license.

According to Police Chief Ed Mello, the restaurant at 138 Narragansett Ave. has been closed for business as of July 8. The building is owned by the Holy Ghost Society.

Mello learned of the situation after he received a call from Joan Dupee, president of the society. According to Dupee, she was walking by the Jamestown Tavern Monday morning when she noticed lessee Carolyn Biltcliffe loading equipment and food from the restaurant into a truck.

“It wasn’t until I saw a van parked behind the truck that I realized something was going on,” she said.

According to Dupee, she approached Biltcliffe and asked what she was doing. “She told me she was shutting down,” said Dupee.

Dupee said Biltcliffe broke the lease, but added the Holy Ghost Society’s main focus is getting another tenant to take over operations. Mello, who arrived on scene while Biltcliffe was vacating the property, said any legal problems arising from the situation aren’t his jurisdiction.

“There is nothing criminal,” he said. “Any problems they have are civil. I was just there to keep the peace.”

Mello said he asked Biltcliffe if she was closing the business, and Biltcliffe confirmed that she was. Mello then reminded Biltcliffe she had an obligation to surrender the licenses to the town.

“She didn’t voluntary bring them in, so we seized them,” he said.

Dupee says the Holy Ghost Society already has three interested tenants lined up. The board plans to interview them as soon as possible, she said. According the Dupee, if none of the prospective tenants are a good fit for the community, the Holy Ghost Society will open up as the Portuguese American Citizens Club under its own management.

The Jamestown Tavern opened its doors in February 2012. The liquor license was officially transferred on June 11, 2012.

“The Holy Ghost Society and the Portuguese American Citizens Club have been more than patient with a tenant that presented difficulties from day one,” said attorney John Murphy, who represents the society. “Getting the club and hall back operating as soon as possible will be top priority, but we will take a close look at the damage caused by the tenant’s disregard for its legal obligations.”

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