New York restaurant owner who lost lost liquor license claims double standard

The disputed Queens restaurant owner claimed Tuesday that he is being unfairly blamed for violations of social estrangement during a wild street party, while a woman who was serving drinks from the back of her double-parking SUV ran away without issue. .

In a written statement, Brik Astoria owner John Zorbas was enraged that his liquor license was suspended last week by the State Liquor Authority, which rated his business as “the worst criminals on Steinway Street.”

“The streets were [crowded] with hundreds of people from all over, “said Zorbas.

“A woman set up an OPEN BAR in the middle of DOUBLE PARKED STREET and served liquor to everyone who wanted a cocktail, but NYPD or the SLA never touched it.”

Zorbas also distributed a photo of a woman standing next to a gray SUV with the rear hatch open to reveal a makeshift bar inside.

The vehicle appears to be the same as it appears in a video that was posted to Twitter early in the morning of July 18.

“People are partying on the streets in large crowds and selling alcoholic beverages in the back of their cars on Steinway in #Astoria. Is anyone going to do something about it? User @vodkapond wrote, tagging others, including Governor Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio, and New York Police Precinct 114.

Zorbas’s brother, chef Brik Manny Zorbas, told The Post that there were actually “several people” on the street selling drinks to the loud crowd.

“I found two other people selling frozen drinks from refrigerators to people,” he said.

“And I said, ‘Can you not do it here? I don’t care where, whatever, where else. You do it, don’t do it in front of my place. So they were doing it, like, in front of the deli next to us, in front of the barbershop. “

John Zorbas alleged that the SLA told him that he was responsible for supervising 100 feet “in both directions of my small business,” which has a store that is only 17 feet wide.

“I cannot impose social distancing on the streets,” he wrote.

“The SLA took my life.”

Zorbas issued his statement through a newly formed group, Hospitality Cares USA, which asked Cuomo on Tuesday to issue single pardons for bars and restaurants accused of violations of social alienation amid its post-pandemic reopens.

“We want the governor to understand that we have been listening to him for the past five months, and we understand what he wants,” group president Fernando Mateo said during a press conference outside the SLA headquarters in Harlem.

“But what he wants many times is not what people want. People are the ones who are violating and violating all the rules and regulations that are asking them not to break. “

Mateo, a controversial figure who also represents taxi and warehouse owners, said the owners of bars and restaurants had “suffered losses of millions, tens of millions of dollars” due to the coronavirus crisis and accused Cuomo of “aggravating it adding millions of dollars in fines. “

An SLA spokesman said the accusation about the woman with the SUV full of alcohol “appears to be someone who is illegally trafficking in the sale of alcoholic beverages.”

“SLA has jurisdiction over licensed companies, so this is an issue that would be handled by the local police,” said spokesman William Crowley.

Neither the New York Police nor Cuomo’s office immediately responded to requests for comment.

However, Cuomo announced the suspension of 12 more liquor licenses for New York City bars, following the discovery last weekend of “egregious violations” of its executive orders related to the coronavirus.

The latest suspensions bring the total to 45, and each alleged violation is punishable by a maximum fine of $ 10,000.

Additional reports by Bernadette Hogan and Craig McCarthy