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Medina Council challenges Serenite's liquor license

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    Serenite Restaurant and Culinary Institute, 538 W. Liberty St., Medina, opened last month. NATHAN HAVENNER / GAZETTE



Serenite Restaurant and Culinary Institute, 538 W. Liberty St., Medina, opened last month. NATHAN HAVENNER / GAZETTE

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MEDINA — City Council wants the Division of Liquor Control to schedule a public hearing over the liquor license for Serenite Restaurant and Culinary Institute.

On Monday by a vote of 5-2, council passed an emergency resolution objecting to the liquor permit transfer from Medina Steakhouse Inc., doing business as Medina Steakhouse & Saloon Porch & Patio, to the new restaurant.

The resolution must be in the hands of the Division of Liquor Control by April 19, and council is requesting a public hearing to be held in Medina.

Ward 2 Councilman Dennis Simpson and At-Large Councilman Bill Lamb voted against the resolution.

During a March 26 meeting, Lamb was against transferring the liquor license. He said he changed his mind after spending an hour speaking to Jess Hazeltine, executive director of the Recovery Center of Medina County, on Saturday at United Church of Christ, Congregational, which hosts meetings. He said he came away with a different outlook about serving alcohol at Serenite.

“My vote (in March) was based on personal experience,” he said. “I still have doubts. Sometimes we have to doubt ourselves.”

Lamb said he was told workers do not have free access to the alcohol at the restaurant.

“It’s supervised,” he said.

The Recovery Center of Medina also operates out of the building that houses the restaurant.

The center opened last summer thanks to a state grant obtained by county officials and has various programs to aid in recovery.

The center originally partnered with Robby’s Voice, which cut ties over the decision to serve alcohol at the restaurant.

The full-service restaurant at 538 W. Liberty St. is staffed by individuals in recovery enrolled in an eight-month training program.

Simpson said he had dinner at Serenite with his wife and came away totally impressed.

“The food is wonderful,” he said. “I hope and pray the restaurant is successful.”

According to the resolution, Ohio Revised Code provides the legislative authority for council to object to the transfer of the liquor license if the applicant “has operated liquor permit business in a manner that demonstrates a disregard for the laws, regulations and local ordinances.”

It’s an emergency measure because of the negative impact in combining a heroin recovery center with a business that serves alcohol in violation of the public peace, healthy, safety and welfare of the citizens of the community, the resolution says.

Brandon Chrostowski, CEO and founder of Serenite Restaurant & Culinary Institute, said in March he wasn’t worried about the liquor license transfer or council’s vote.

Council President John Coyne said he’d like to schedule a sit-down with Serenite officials to get more facts.

“More and more info is coming out that we didn’t have before,” he said.

Ward 3 Councilman Mark Kolesar said he supports “addicts getting back on their feet. I would hope that people would support the restaurant even if it’s not serving alcohol.”

Contact reporter Bob Finnan at (330) 721-4049 or rfinnan@medina-gazette.com.

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