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Two weeks after it was confiscated by Harford officials, liquor license is restored for Tidewater Grille in Havre de Grace

The Harford County Liquor Control Board has restored the liquor license for Tidewater Grille in Havre de Grace, two weeks after it had been confiscated at the request of Havre de Grace police.

Ralph Shapot, holder of the license at Tidewater, appeared before the liquor board Wednesday with his attorneys to request that it be reinstated.

On Nov. 20, citing an emergency public safety issue, Havre de Grace police sought the help of the liquor board as it executed a search and seizure warrant as part of a drug investigation prompted by complaints from the community, according to liquor board officials.

Board Administrator Pilar Gracia said previously she had sent an inspector to Tidewater Grille and the license was confiscated.

On Wednesday, Gracia told the board that one person — not Shapot — had been charged in connection with the sale of drugs at the restaurant.

“I hope you realize the concern from the community,” C. John Sullivan III, liquor board chairman said to Shapot and his attorneys.

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Shapot said anyone who has worked in the restaurant industry knows there can be problems with drugs and alcohol, “but it’s tough for a restaurant owner to control what police can’t control on the street,” he said.

“But in no way does he authorize this activity,” John Nowicki, one of his attorneys, said.

Sullivan asked his colleagues on the board for a motion to restore Tidewater Grille’s license effective immediately. It was unanimously approved.

After the hearing, Shapot said the incident had affected the restaurant.

“This really hurt,” he said, “not just taking our license away, but our reputation. We’ve been there 11 years and have had one infraction.”

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