Monday 29 January 2018

Liquor Vogons

An Italian-born restaurateur living in Wellington is upset the law is preventing him from continuing to offer Kiwis a little slice of his home.

Antonio Cacace​ owns two hospitality and grocer businesses in Wellington: La Bella Italia in Petone, which he opened 17 years ago, and Bel Mondo in Rongotai, which he opened in 2016.

Both his businesses were designed to offer an authentic Italian environment, allowing patrons to dine while sipping on a glass of wine, and then shop in the food store for Italian food and wine to take home afterwards.

However, when Cacace applied to renew his liquor licences last year, he was told he was operating outside of the law by holding an on-licence and off-licence under the same roof.
High end shop, good restaurant, not causing anybody any problems. Except the Vogons don't like that. Vogons like process for the sake of process, sitting on elegant and beautiful gazelle-like creatures on Vogsphere with the express purpose of snapping their backs, smashing beautiful jewel-backed scuttling crabs for the pleasure of killing things, and ruining perfectly good restaurant shops that aren't hurting anyone, precisely because they are beautiful.

It's amazing that a police department that makes so many noises about under-resourcing has so much time to lodge objections to liquor permits.
"Before the law, people, customers were trying something different, and if they liked it they could walk over to the shelf and buy the bottle," Cacace said.

"Now they can't do that anymore."

Wellington City Council spokesman Richard MacLean said the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act had "some quite specific limitations about what a grocery store with an off-licence can and can't do".

"Running a cafe and a grocery store in a single operation didn't fit within those limitations.

"The end result was that in order for Bel Mondo to hold both an off-licence for the grocery business and an on-licence for the cafe, the two businesses needed to be physically separated and the takings from the two parts of the business to be kept separate," MacLean said.

"Antonio achieved this by placing permanent shelving to ensure that it isn't possible to move directly between the cafe and the grocery store."

When Bel Mondo applied to renew the grocery store off-licence, the licensing inspector and police raised concerns about how the two businesses had been separated, he said.

"[This included] whether the situation could be considered as a 'store within a store'. The application is still in progress."
Resistance is futile. 

HT: Louis Houlbrooke

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