By Bob Uphues
The owner of a North Riverside bar/restaurant has agreed to sell his business after the mayor suspended its business and liquor licenses for a week and levied a fine in response to actions at a private party held there last month.
Sliccily Pizza Pub owner Chris Angelos declined to comment on Mayor Hubert Hermanek Jr.'s ruling, which came at a North Riverside Liquor Control Commission hearing on July 3.
The ruling, to which both sides agreed prior to the hearing, states that Angelos will pay a $3,000 fine and not contest or appeal the mayor's decision. In addition, according to the agreement, Angelos will not contest any future village decision not to renew Sliccily's business or liquor licenses, which expire at the end of the year.
However, if the village receives proof that the business at 8427 Cermak Road has been sold or transferred to another party, local authorities "will not unreasonably deny any application for a new liquor license and/or new business license submitted by the new owner/applicant."
"The business remains open for the purpose of selling the business," said Hermanek in a phone interview. "If they haven't sold by the end of the year, they can't renew it."
Hermanek said the business, going forward, "will be closely monitored" and that any further violations would result in the suspension of the business' liquor and business licenses.
"It's zero tolerance," Hermanek said.
Hermanek summarily suspended Sliccily's business and liquor licenses on June 27 after video from a private party held at the business on June 9 began making the rounds on Facebook. The video had been posted by the party's host just two days earlier and it quickly made its way into local social media forums and to the mayor.
The video documented a "day party" featuring scantily clad women performing sexually suggestive dances on the bar, sometimes hanging from the rafters, while customers threw money at them, tucked dollar bills into their outfits and groped them.
But the real problem came when the women went outside to pose among the luxury vehicles driven to the party. The parking lot of Sliccily faces Cermak Road and is adjacent to a residential area.
"When I saw that, I was shocked," said Hermanek. "To do that in the parking lot, that's like flaunting it in the face of residents. It was a Sunday afternoon."
Deputy Police Chief Christian Ehrenberg told the Landmark that police received three complaints on June 9 related to what was going on outside Sliccily, and that police responded. At that time, said Ehrenberg, none of the three scantily clad dancers was outside, and officers issued a warning.
When the video surfaced, showing the dancers posing next to vehicles outside in the parking lot, police followed up on June 28 by issuing Angelos a local ordinance citation for creating a public nuisance.
In the wake of being shut down, Angelos on July 1 posted on Sliccily's Facebook page, apologizing for what had happened.
"We are truly sorry for the recent events that have occurred at Sliccily," the post stated. "I have made some bad business practices and have regretted them. We will not be having any parties or private parties for any reason, ever."
It wasn't the first time Sliccily has come under fire from neighbors. In June 2017, residents from the 2200 block of 2nd Avenue appeared at a village board meeting to complain about bar patrons parking on the block and noise and trash they generated late at night.
"We had myriad complaints regarding parking, littering, vulgarity and poor conduct after hours," Hermanek said.
In response, the village changed the parking rules in the 2200 block of 2nd Avenue, prohibiting non-resident parking on the street there after 10 p.m.
"I think that helped," said Hermanek.
Both Hermanek and Ehrenberg confirmed that the village also has had prior issues with Sliccily serving alcohol after hours which, Hermanek said, had resulted in fines and short suspensions. Sliccily opened at the location in December 2014.
But the party spilling over into the parking lot was the last straw, according to the mayor.
"When I got the video I called him and told him, 'This is not in the best interest of the village,'" Hermanek said.
Sliccily reopened for business on July 3 after the Liquor Control Commission hearing, but the liquor license, which also allows the business to offer video gambling to customers, was not reinstated until July 5, according to Hermanek.
The business continues to operate without restrictions at this time.