Board blesses alcohol order

First Posted: 1/15/2009

Gena Smith
Staff writer
FAIRMONT — After the town Board of Commissioners meeting on Tuesday, Nick Vitouladitis might get to offer his well-worn greeting of “God bless you” to customers who enjoy an adult beverage with the pepperoni pie.
The board blessed a request by Vitouladitis, owner of Fairmont Pizza, to apply for a beer and wine license from the state. His eatery would become the first in Fairmont to offer beer and wine.
“People come in and they like it a lot,” said Vitouladitis, who remodeled the restaurant and renamed it after coming to Fairmont a year and a half ago. “Some people like a glass of wine with their food.”
Mayor Charles Kemp interrupted the meeting when the Greece-born pizzeria owner walked in.
“God bless you,” said the mayor, prompting some to wonder who had sneezed. “I’m sorry, I just had to say it.”
Vitouladitis blessed him back, and then presented his request to the board. He said that he would only serve the drinks to those who buy food.
Commissioner Wayland Lennon wanted to make sure the restaurant would not become “a drinking joint.”
“No, we can’t do that,” Vitouladitis said in his thick accent. “A beverage only with the food … a glass of wine is good for your heart.”
After the meeting, Vitouladitis seemed as happy as when he entered.
“We always say ‘God bless you from Nick,’” he said. “We love people.”
Vitouladitis said he expects to have the alcohol license within a couple of months. According to Town Manager Blake Proctor, typically the request goes from the eatery to the state, which then sends it to the town board for its approval. But Proctor said it was being done in reverse to “get ahead of the game.”
In 2003, Fairmont residents approved the sell of beer and wine during a referendum, but no local restaurants have sought a license since that time.
“I just think it’s remarkable that this is the first request for this,” Kemp said after the meeting. “… It will certainly increase his business and increase traffic coming to and from town. I see this as a win-win for the town and for him.”
In other business, the board tabled revisions to property maintenance codes and a municipal services ordinance, deciding to have separate workshops on each.
The municipal services ordinance says that applications for new utility services, zoning permits or business licenses would not be issued or renewed “unless and until all property taxes at the physical address of the applicant have been paid in full.”
“This is needed because people who owe taxes still get town services,” Proctor said. “ … Yet we are $200,000 short on taxes that people owe us.”
Commissioner J.J. McCree asked if the ordinance would penalize renters. He requested the item be further discussed at the workshop and the board agreed.
Also Tuesday, town officials said that the siren on top of the Town Hall would be used for tornado watches and sightings.

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