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Indian restaurant in the works

October 28, 2009|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- Washington County liquor officials granted a liquor license Wednesday to a man who wants to open an Indian restaurant at the former Duffy's on Potomac bar and restaurant in Hagerstown.

Raj Agarwal, president of the proposed Taj India restaurant, told the Board of License Commissioners for Washington County, known as the liquor board, that he would like to open Nov. 10 on the first floor of the building at 28 S. Potomac St.

Agarwal, however, declined to discuss specific plans after the hearing.

Mike Deming, a local developer who owned Duffy's, closed the business in August.

In papers filed Aug. 6 in Washington County Circuit Court, The First National Bank of Mercersburg in Pennsylvania said Deming and his father, Clyde F. Deming III, owed more than $3 million on notes on the property. The Demings still own the building.

Deming could not be reached for comment Wednesday, but he said in a voicemail last week that a deal with Taj India has not been finalized.

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"There still are some contingencies that we're working through," Deming said. "But I'm pretty confident we have a deal."

Taj India was granted a pouring license, which means the restaurant would be permitted to serve beer, wine and liquor, said Robert Everhart, liquor board chairman.

On Oct. 7, Leiters' Fine Catering of Williamsport signed a one-year contract with Demcore Development, which is owned by the Demings, to use the second floor of the Duffy's building to host weddings and other events, said Teri Leiter, co-owner of Leiters' Fine Catering.

"We are the exclusive caterer on the second floor," she said.

Leiters' Fine Catering has taken on about a dozen clients who booked the second floor before Duffy's closed, Leiter said. On Saturday, Leiters' catered a wedding event for about 190 people, she said. The second floor's capacity is about 200 people.

"I think it's a great addition for Leiters'," she said. "We needed a venue so we could shine in Hagerstown."

Everhart said the liquor board is holding the liquor license that Duffy's used before closing. He said if Deming applies to have the license returned, it could be used by Leiters' on the second floor and by the former AVA's nightclub, should it reopen in the basement of the building.

AVA's closed at the same time as Duffy's.

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