The embattled liquor license of the Capriccio by the Sea restaurant is still… embattled.
The restaurant, which straddles the border of Lavallette and Ortley Beach, came under fire by a group of neighbors in recent years for hosting bands and revelry that they believed was too loud. The group caught the ear of the borough council, which moved to deny the liquor license renewal. Then, the New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control stepped in and investigated on their own after being notified by the town. The division recommended a revocation of the license over a number of charges, including the fact that one of the owners of the license, Kim Pascarella, became an assistant Ocean County prosecutor and did not file a mandatory disclosure form. Pascarella, however, held that he divested his interest in the license before taking the new job. He still owns the building.
There are now two actions involving the license which have been combined into one: the borough’s denial of its renewal and the state’s allegations of administrative violations. Both are being adjudicated and the license, in the mean time, has neither been revoked nor suspended, said Borough Attorney Phillip George.
“It’s still pending a final decision by the ABC,” said George, adding that Lavallette’s non-renewal is still in place, so the license cannot be utilized even though it has not been formally revoked.
George said he spoke recently with a deputy state attorney general who told him two rounds of settlement talks on resolving the matter “went nowhere.”
Robert Brice, the borough administrator, said he spoke with Pascarella, who told him the tenant who operated Capriccio is no longer involved with the property. Pascarella’s wife, Paola, is one of the holders of the liquor license in controversy.
“He’s going to go forth with his wife, and they may go to see how she can salvage the license,” Brice said. “But as far as the building goes, the former tenant is no longer there.”
George did not speculate as to whether the matter will be settled by the 2020 summer season.
“I’m not going to offer an opinion at this point,” he said.