NORTH ANDOVER — Selectmen last night rescheduled the dates Beijing Restaurant will be barred from serving alcohol, effectively softening the impact of a 10-day liquor license suspension.
The board voted last month to have the suspension coincide with major holidays, including Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Day, Valentine's Day and St. Patrick's Day.
Under the new schedule unanimously approved last night, Beijing will still have its liquor license pulled on the days before and after Thanksgiving and on Christmas Day.
But the remainder of the suspension will now be carried out consecutively from Dec. 26 to 30. The restaurant already served part of the suspension on Sept. 24 and Oct. 1.
The suspension is the result of a Feb. 6 incident that led to an intoxicated Beijing patron being placed in protective custody by North Andover police.
Last night, Beijing manager David Yung told the selectmen that restaurant owner Wen Jing Huang is "committed and sincere" in her efforts to remain in compliance with the law.
"I am also here to ask for forgiveness," said Yung. "We take responsibility for what has happened, but we respectfully request a change in dates."
Yung requested that the suspension be carried out on consecutive days, in part so the managers could schedule renovations to the bar when it would not be in use.
Yung said the planned renovations include changes to restaurant seating arrangements that will make it easier for security to "move around and keep an eye on the people there."
The Board of Selectmen also serves as the town's Licensing Commission.
Licensing Chairwoman and Selectman Tracy Watson was at first reluctant to offer Beijing the suspension on consecutive days.
"We're imposing a punishment on the business for past actions," said Watson. "I don't want to impose something for your convenience."
At 1250 Osgood St., Beijing is owned by Millennium Eatery Inc. The Feb. 6 incident was just the latest in what the selectmen felt was a string of problems there.
The board voted unanimously in late February to impose a pair of five-day suspensions against Beijing after the intoxicated patron was placed into protective custody.
But the selectmen said the suspension also was related to what they believed was the restaurant's failure to meet a list of long-requested demands for increased surveillance on the property, more employee training, and improved contact between police and restaurant management.
The restaurant has been in compliance with the town's demands since February.
In a letter to the selectmen dated Sept. 21, Beijing manager Victor Ng wrote that the new management team at the restaurant values "the privilege of having a business in North Andover."
"We have worked very hard to improve the food and experience at the restaurant," wrote Ng.
Beijing's owners initially appealed the town's suspensions to the state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission. The ABCC upheld the suspensions in a written decision this summer.
Beijing also was hit with a liquor license suspension in May 2009 for underage drinking violations.
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