A West Hollywood restaurant and lounge will have its business license suspended for seven days following repeated code violations. That’s what the city’s Business License Commission decided at its Tuesday night meeting.
The Tradition Tapas Kitchen/Forbidden Bar and Lounge will close for a week beginning Saturday and will be on probation for 180 days due to four citations issued for violating the city’s noise ordinances and for operating past its required closing time.
The restaurant at 8512 Santa Monica Boulevard (beside the Koo Koo Roo) has been open since Oct. 31, 2011. Operated by first time restaurateurs Aaron Young and Sirine Adlouni, the restaurant and cocktail lounge has a conditional use permit (CUP) which does not allow for amplified music and which requires it to close by 11 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, by 1 a.m. Friday-Saturday.
Attorney Diane Abbitt, representing the owners, did not deny the facts presented by the code compliance officers. However, she did explain that as first-time business owners, the couple did not understand all of the city’s regulations or how to fix problems.
“Being a good chef does not always make for a good manager,” said Abbitt explaining that opening the business proved overwhelming for the couple. “Yes, they made mistakes, but they want to be good citizens.”
The Commission chastised the owners for not taking the citations issued seriously and said they should have amended their CUP to allow for later hours rather than risk repeated citations.
Amending the CUP involves an $8,000 application fee with no guarantee of approval, money the couple did not have to spare Abbitt said.
“Lack of experience and not enough start-up funds,” said Commission Chair Pat Rogers explaining that he personally understood problems first-time business owners face.
The code compliance division was recommending the restaurant’s public eating with alcohol license and entertainment license be suspended for 30 days. However, the Commissioners realized that such a harsh punishment would likely put the restaurant out of business completely, thereby hurting not only the owners but also the employees.
“I don’t want to close them down, but we need to get their attention,” said Commissioner Josh Morgerman.
The Commission ultimately decided the seven-day suspension would be sufficient to get the point across. The Commission also placed the restaurant on 180 days suspension with the provision that if one violation occurs during that time, it would automatically have to return to the Commission for another hearing.