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Annapolis restaurateur requesting liquor license for future coffee house in downtown Hagerstown

July 11, 2013|By DAN DEARTH | dan.dearth@herald-mail.com

An Annapolis restaurateur told Washington County liquor officials Wednesday that he wants to open a coffee shop with delivery service on Public Square in Hagerstown.

Pietro Priola said during a hearing before the Board of License Commissioners for Washington County that if everything goes as planned, he will open the coffee shop around Aug. 1 at 2 W. Washington St.

“I just took it over about two weeks ago,” he said. “We’re doing the coffee bar, coffee house with food. We’re doing salads, sandwiches, soups, wraps and stuff like that.”

Priola said he requested the hearing before the liquor board to discuss meeting the seating requirement to obtain a license to serve beer and local wines.

Robert Everhart, liquor board chairman, told Priola that the 31 seats at the coffee shop — 15 inside and 16 outside — would fall far short of the minimum seating requirement of 75 in Washington County.

However, Everhart said that Hagerstown officials have been discussing whether to decrease the minimum seating capacity to fewer than 75.

“That is kind of in a transition period right now .... We haven’t heard anything from them yet,” Everhart said.

Hagerstown Downtown Manager Andrew Sargent could not be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon.

Everhart recommended that Priola take a liquor license application and keep it until the city makes a decision.

“We’ll certainly be willing to work with you,” Everhart said.

Priola said the coffee shop also would offer delivery service to the downtown area.

“We’re doing an organic local thing,” he said. “I’m buying (food) from the local farmers (and) local dairy.”

Priola, who said he is associated with two restaurants in Annapolis, said he also might open an Italian restaurant in Hagerstown.

“My next step will be to do a sit-down, traditional old-style Italian restaurant with the checkered table cloths,” he said.

Priola said he will maintain a residence in Hagerstown to be close to the coffee shop and his daughter, who lives nearby in West Virginia.

“I’ve been through here but not stopped here .... I came downtown, and I was really pleased with what I saw,” he said.

A number of coffee shops have occupied the space at 2 W. Washington St. over the past several years, including Skyline Coffee Co. and Jassmin Cafe House.

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