By Angeljean Chiaramida
---- — SALISBURY — After 16 years running the only inn and restaurant in town overlooking the Merrimack River, the owners of Stripers Grille are selling.
“It was a great run,” Steve Kuchar told Salisbury’s Liquor Licensing Commission. “It’s just that I’m pooped. It’s time to go.”
Kuchar was called before the commission at its last meeting to explain why Stripers — which has a year-round liquor license — had been closed for weeks, without notification being made to the commission.
“It started out (we closed) for repairs, and then the blizzard came,” Kuchar said. “And then, I sat down with my family ... and we decided that due to tiredness and that my kids are out of college, that it’s time to move on. We have a (purchase and sale agreement) ready to go with some people.”
Stripers is located on Route 1, next to the Gillis Bridge. Its decks overlook Newburyport Harbor and downtown Newburyport.
Kuchar, who owns and ran Stripers with his wife, Lisa Reinhold, apologized to commissioners for not telling them officially prior to locking the doors.
According to commission Chairman Gil Mederios, regulations require liquor license holders to inform the commission before establishments close, no matter the reason.
“We don’t like finding out (an establishment) is closed by phone calls or the newspaper,” Mederios said. “It’s now twice in this town that it’s happened.”
In addition to Stripers closing, Mederios referred to Salisbury Beach’s Hobo’s Cafe and Lounge, which closed abruptly shortly after Christmas, when financial difficulties led to its landlord seizing the property.
Shortly after Stripers closed, Kuchar told The Daily News he had shut down temporarily for repairs and some interior renovation, as well as to reorganize.
Kuchar could not be reached yesterday to comment on who the new owner of Stripers might be.
Asked by Mederios how far along the sales negotiations are with the possible new owner, Kuchar said they were far more than half way. He estimated the sale could be taking place within a matter of a week or so, and Kuchar promised to keep the commission updated on the progressed of any transactions.
Transferring the liquor license takes time once the sale is complete, Mederios said, explaining there could be a lag since the application for transfer must get through the state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission, as well as Salisbury’s local licensing commission.
“I apologize for not keeping the (commission) informed, but this all happened very quickly,” Kuchar said. “I’d like to add we’ve had 16 great years and everyone in town — from the officials to customers to the college kids — have been great.”