Owner appeals after Springfield License Commission rejects plans for former Lido Ristorante
SPRINGFIELD – The new owner of the former downtown Lido Ristorante property has filed a lawsuit with the state after his plans for a restaurant and lounge were rejected by the Springfield License Commission.
Springfield’s Kristen Fiore, of Rose Entertainment LLC, bought the Lido property in late July for $ 350,000. Despite the denial of the liquor license, Fiore said she was moving ahead with renovations to the property at 555 Worthington St. while the appeal was under consideration.
The licensing committee voted unanimously last week to deny Fiore’s liquor license application. Fiore said on Wednesday she had filed an appeal with the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission.
“The decision was definitely biased and unfair,” Fiore said. “I don’t know why it was turned down in the first place. Bringing in a bustling restaurant or establishment to fill that large, empty building for so long would be good for the city and the neighborhood.
Peter Sygnator, chairman of the Licensing Commission, defended the decision on Wednesday.
“I personally felt that the license holder had a very vague idea of what she wanted to do on site, but was unable to answer many of our questions to our satisfaction,” said said Sygnator. “The other Council members present at the hearing agreed. We are open to considering a new application if it makes a more concrete presentation. A lawyer specializing in licensing would be of great help in helping him in this area.
In previous meetings, Fiore has said the lounge restaurant will have a full menu, drink specials, music and light entertainment, as well as space for private banquets. She said the company would “be living downtown again.”
The town planning council and the Armory Quadrangle Civic Association, which represents the downtown area, have previously expressed support for the proposal but have called for a midnight closure rather than the proposed closing time of 2 a.m.
Sygnator said support from the Civic Association and the neighboring Kimball Tower property was “lukewarm at best.”
He raised concerns about changes to Fiore’s plans he heard in several meetings, including that instead of just having table service, customers would be seated at bars. Fiore said there had been adjustments to the plans as she hired an architect, chef and contractor.
“I think we have a very inexperienced candidate for extremely large premises, who is going to be oversized and who doesn’t really have a clear vision of what it’s supposed to be,” Sygnator said at the meeting.
Commission member Michael Siciliano, regarding his vote against the liquor license, said he believed there were “too many pieces missing for me to continue”.
Members Rosa Espinosa and Andrew Cade also voted to deny the liquor license.
Lido Ristorante was a family restaurant for 64 years before closing in 2012.