Local restaurant owner Larry Blatterfein continued his campaign for a controversial new sports bar Wednesday, this time in front of the City Council, where he petitioned for a resolution that would push his proposition through city government.
Blatterfein, who has held a liquor license in New Brunswick for 30 years, plans to name his new restaurant at the intersection of Routes one and 18 “Buck Foston’s Roadhouse.” But after an extended period of delays by city government, Blatterfein finally sued Mayor James Cahill last week on a violation of his freedom of speech, claiming the delays in his liquor license transfer were the result of the mayor’s disapproval of the future establishment’s name.
“Because of the city’s unjustified delay, I have suffered substantial financial damages that currently exceed $100,000, and increase by $10,000 each week,” Blatterfein told the council.
But the council claimed that the delay is the result of a tax clearance letter that needs to be issued by the state, and that Blatterfein was barking up the wrong tree. “You cannot receive a transfer (of a liquor license) without a tax clearance letter,” councilman Kevin Egan said. “We don’t issue the tax clearance letter, it’s not something that we set up,” he said.”
Blatterfein purchased the land for his bar, the former site of Bennigans, in 2009, but says he has faced an inordinate amount of red tape in trying to transfer his liquor license and get city approval.
A self-confessed die-hard New York Yankee fan, Blatterfein said he wants to open a “high-end sports bar” and thought the “Buck Foston’s” name was a great way to honor the contentious rivalries between sports teams of New York and Boston.
“I’ve selected this name because it really celebrates a century old rivalry between New York and Boston sports teams,” Blatterfein said.
Of course, chief among these rivalries is that of the Yankees and Red Sox. In 1920, cash-strapped Red Sox owner Harry Frazee sold Ruth, then the club’s star pitcher, to the Yankees in order to square off some debts. What followed was a career that lead many to call Ruth the greatest hitter the game has ever seen.
And on top of that, the Red Sox, who won the 1918 world series, did not win again until 2004, an 86 year drought. During that time the Yankees won 27 world championships.
While the council didn’t take any action on the matter, they did let Blatterfein and his daughter, Katie Sorrentino, speak their minds on the issue.
“I want the council to be aware that a lot of people have been affected by this,” Blatterfein said. “Basically, the message that’s being given to young people is ‘don’t work here, don’t try and find your fortune here, because it’s not here.’”
“This isn’t just about Larry Blatterfein, this issue is about bringing more and good jobs to the area,” he said.