A Buffalo-area bar that mocked New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on social media for his requirement that bars must serve food if they wanted to remain on the state’s good side and be allowed to stay open, claims that it was shut down by the state last week because Cuomo didn’t like what the bar posted about him.
The governor announced the suspension of The Village Line bar in Kenmore on Thursday, saying in a news release that a State Liquor Authority investigator “entered the tavern and observed three patrons seated at the bar drinking alcohol without food. After requesting a menu from an employee, the investigator was told he could go next door for pizza and bring it back to the bar — an admission that no food was available.”
On that day, Cuomo yanked the liquor licenses of seven bars statewide.
The inspection came a week after the bar had earlier posted to its Facebook page a vulgar, if catchy, menu, apparently hoping to beat the state edict that bars needed to serve food to stay open. The first letters of the offerings, presented in very large type in a Facebook post, spelled out “F— Cuomo.” Every item on the list was $1, from the Flour tortilla to the Carrot stick, to the Kiwi.
Chris Gardella, the owner’s brother, told Spectrum News that he abhors government by vendetta.
“He [Cuomo] doesn’t have a right to selectively enforce laws or directives against certain people just because he has a personal beef with them,” Gardella said.
“I can only assume that the governor’s thin skin has led him to purposely target The Village Line,” he said.
Gardella said other bars in the neighborhood of The Village Line were not inspected, and violate the governor’s edict regularly.
“If you go to The Village Line, we’re not a well-known bar outside of the neighborhood. This isn’t something that a state official just stumbles upon into because they were taking a walk through Buffalo,” he said.
I had a beer at The Village Line. Great corner bar. Shot a video critical of Cuomo. Changing food rules. Killing businesses. What happened? NYS shut them down. Coincidence? Rioters can attack police in confined spaces. Small businesses can’t serve beer https://t.co/W1rNqZMWQF
— Stefan Mychajliw (@StefanMychajliw) July 30, 2020
Another bar in Erie County is being punished for violating Gov. Cuomo’s coronavirus regulations. https://t.co/GjZPqzSrrN
— Spectrum News BUF (@SPECNewsBuffalo) July 31, 2020
Gardella said the bar was living by the law when the inspector came.
“We didn’t serve anyone alcohol without having food present,” Gardella said. “As far as we can tell, it was someone who came in to order wings, which we didn’t have. We recommended they go somewhere else and that was that.”
As for the patrons witnessed drinking without eating, Gardella said they could well have finished their food.
“The directive that Cuomo had put out was not that you need to have food in front of you at all times while consuming alcoholic beverages. It was: If you are going to go to a bar to drink, you need to order food,” he said.
Gardella said the vulgarity aimed at Cuomo was “satirical in nature which I think anyone, any reasonable person would be able to understand. With that said, the menu is very much available with all the items listed on there.”
The bar, which now has to close, said it will find a way back.
“Took a body shot from the state today but not the haymaker it’ll take to knock us out…. we’ll be closed until further notice….everyone stay safe and support local! #lostthefightnotthewar,” the bar wrote in a Facebook post on Thursday.
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