By Jeff Mays
HARLEM—An Italian restaurant on Lenox Avenue has been shut down after an undercover NYPD sting operation allegedly found that the establishment served alcohol to minors on two different occasions in June.
Trattoria Amici at 383 Lenox Ave. at West 129th Street allegedly served alcohol to two people under the age of 21 while undercover police officers were present on June 11 and June 26, according to the State of New York Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
The restaurant was shut down by court order on Dec. 2 according to a document posted on the restaurant's doors. A restraining order prevents "use and occupancy" according to another sign posted on the door by the NYPD. It had to surrender its liquor license on Jan. 28, pending the outcome of the disciplinary charges.
The liquor license was issued to a Stanley Wolfson, according to state documents. Representatives of the restaurant have pleaded not guilty to the charges, according to state officials. A hearing date has not yet been set.
Calls to the restaurant's still active telephone number were not returned.
The site opened as Pizza Party Buffet back in 2008 before transforming into Trattoria Amici in 2009. Uptown Flavor wrote that the restaurant suffered from lackluster reviews from patrons.
On Lenox Avenue Thursday, people stopped and read the the court orders, which were taped to the windows. Inside the restaurant, boxes were stacked on top of one another as were the chairs. An awning over the entrance advertises the space for lease.
David Black, 56, a superintendent for nine building on West 131st Street, said he never ate at the restaurant, preferring the soul food buffet Jacob's across the street. But he had mixed feelings about the closure.
"It's sad to see that a business is closed and jobs have been lost in this rough economy," he said. "But serving alcohol to minors? That concerns me because I have two children of my own."