Tag Archives: Stonewood Tavern

Did you hear the one about the Stonewood Tavern owner who met with residents?

31 Jan

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

Maybe Sal Palumbo will stand up in front of the neighbors tomorrow morning, and say: “Hello ladies and germs. A funny thing happened to me on the way over to the community meeting. Remember that promise to cut back on our entertainment at Stonewood Tavern? Well, um, well …”

Mr. Palumbo, owner of Stonewood Tavern,  told the Salem Snooze this week that he was holding a community meeting at 9 a.m. on Saturday morning to “try and make everyone happy.” And how he will tell neighbors “how we have cut back on our entertainment.”

Meanwhile, back at City Hall …

Palumbo, who many feel is already operating well beyond the stipulations of his entertainment license, has applied to expand said license to allow … wait for it …

Comedy shows.

I guess large, disruptive bands weren’t enough when it came to disturbing the peace and quality of life of Lynnfield Street neighborhood residents.

By the way, Sal will also ask the city council to give him permission to hire clowns for birthday parties. Insert your own one-liner here________________________________

For those who aren’t up-to-date on this issue, back when Palumbo made plans for the neighborhood bistro, and successfully revitalized a dilapidated property, he told us all that he was only looking for a quiet little three-piece jazz band to play occasionally within the original foot print of the restaurant.

What the neighborhood got instead was the fabulous Amber Room, where three-piece jazz bands have been replaced by raucous 8-piece R&B bands and classic rock groups. Lynnfield Street now has the feel of Bourbon Street, and the neighbors are feeling like Sal pulled a fast one.

Residents wonder whose side Ward 1 Councilor is on.

Residents wonder whose side Ward 1 Councilor is on.

With the exception of outspoken councilors Anne Manning-Martin and Barry Sinewitz, the Peabody City Council hasn’t been much help in bringing Stonewood to heel when it comes to its entertainment. Ward 1 Councilor Barry Osborne, who must be looking forward to the comedy amateur night at Stonewood, has seemingly been more on Sal’s side than on the side of the neighbors who elected him to be their representative.

Maybe if the neighborhood finds a candidate next time to unseat Osborne, Sal can hire Barry as one of those birthday party clowns.

Stonewood owner asked to play by rules; Councilors Manning-Martin, Sinewitz shine

14 Nov

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

The Peabody City Council – at least two courageous members – told the owner of the Stonewood Tavern last night that he just had to follow the rules. Sal Palumbo had originally planned to go before the council to “amend” his entertainment license to allow him to play host to bands at a nightclub he built as an addition to his successful restaurant on Lynnfield Street.

Councilor Barry Sinewitz

Councilor Barry Sinewitz

Problem was, he was looking to expand an entertainment license for a nightclub that he erected without city council approval. The city council back in July of 2011 approved a special permit for a 95-seat restaurant, which since opening had been a welcomed addition to the neighborhood.

But suddenly, several months ago, Mr. Palumbo added on a nightclub and began rocking the foundations of South Peabody with 8-piece bands. Last night, after understanding that his attempt to amend his entertainment license was going to fail, Palumbo requested that his petition be withdrawn without prejudice. The council agreed 9-0 to allow him to withdraw his petition, but not before Ward 6 Councilor Barry Sinewitz, and Councilor At-Large Anne Manning-Martin gave him a little rock performance of their own.

Councilor Anne Manning-Martin

Councilor Anne Manning-Martin

“You went wild over there. Wild,” Manning-Martin said while addressing Palumbo, and … she was just only warming up. “You’re a businessman doing business in Peabody, who in the near future needs to be kept on a short leash.”

Manning-Martin went on to say that she would like to ask the licensing board whether Stonewood had also violated it’s liquor license by opening the nightclub. “You should be fined,” she added.

Sinewitz was a little kinder, yet still made sure to let Palumbo know that his end-run around the process and the city council won’t be tolerated.  “What I wonder is whether he’s going to have bands there this Friday and Saturday night,” asked Sinewitz, who later made a motion for an emergency preamble for Mayor Ted Bettencourt to sign,  which requests that the police department visit the Stonewood this weekend to ensure that no live bands will be performing.

While Manning-Martin and Sinewitz handed out what seemed like the perfect response in this situation. other councilors leaned more toward sending Mr. Palumbo for a timeout in chair in his dining room. Ward 1 Councilor Barry Osborne, who really owns some of the responsibility here for not letting Palumbo know that he needed to bring his nightclub plans before the city council, sounded at times like he wanted to give the Stonewood owner a hug while telling him to please be good from now on.

Most of the other council members were totally silent.

Great work by Manning-Martin and Sinewitz.

As Sinewitz put it perfectly: “This isn’t a witch hunt. It’s about following the rules.”

Update: Stonewood owner asks that hearing on entertainment license be recessed

12 Nov

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

Questions abound as EOP learns that Stonewood Tavern owner Sal Palumbo will ask that a hearing on amending his entertainment license be recessed on Thursday night when the issue  is due to come before Peabody’s City Council.

For various reasons, applicants sometimes decide  last-minute not to have their issue heard. Sometimes that reason is that they learn ahead of time that they won’t have the votes necessary to gain enough support for their issue.

In this case, the city council must still vote whether to recess the hearing and table the issue for now. Stonewood was attempting to expand its entertainment license to allow full scale bands in a recently added on nightclub area. Back in July 2011, when attorney David Ankeles, on behalf of Palumbo, brought the plans for the restaurant to the city council to get approval for a special permit to operate, the only real talk of “entertainment” was an occasional small jazz band within the confines of a 95-seat restaurant.

Since opening, Stonewood had been a positive addition to this South Peabody neighborhood as Palumbo’s property helped revitalize a previously abandoned lot on Lynnfield Street. But over the past several months, and following a large expansion, the Stonewood has been featuring full-scale bands in its new nightclub, which has drawn major concerns from neighbors who were led to believe that it would only be an upscale bistro.

According to a source, more than 20 neighbors had planned to be in attendance at the hearing on Thursday to offer opposition to a nightclub that is already operating without approval of the city council’s special permit process.

The question now is what becomes of the nightclub that’s already open? One possibility is that the building inspector’s office might be forced to issue a cease and desist order, essentially shutting down the nightclub portion of Stonewood until it can properly come before the city council.

Stay tuned. We’ll have more details here as they  occur.

In a related story, two sources tell EOP that Palumbo is also looking into purchasing the nearby parcel at 143 Lynnfield Street from developer Bob Denisco. Part of Denisco’s plans for the site, which once housed an old tannery, were to rent to the Yellow Jackets Gymnastics organization. We have no details at this time as to what Palumbo’s plans would be for that property.

Stonewalling on Stonewood? Come on, guys, do it right

11 Nov

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher 

stonewood

Opening day at Stonewood Tavern

Her fears alleviated by attorney David Ankeles, the neighbor, Mrs. Trainor, seemed satisfied afterward that the nice little restaurant going in across the street from her home would actually be a good thing for the neighborhood.

Following the presentation before the Peabody City Council back in July of 2011, she felt that maybe there was nothing to fear. This wouldn’t be a situation where “they get a permit and then all of a sudden they change all of the rules on you,” she was quoted in the notes at that special permit hearing.

No, not at all, attorney Ankeles and petitioner Sal Palumbo would insist. This was going to be a nice, little bistro, with 95 seats for diners, and room for another 15 to stand and wait for the next available tables on really busy nights. As for entertainment, maybe a cool little three-piece jazz band to provide a little background music while you dined on citrus marinated shrimp or panko encrusted chicken.

There was definitely nothing over-bearing or sinister in the plans for what would become the Stonewood Tavern on Lynnfield Street. It was redevelopment of a dingy property. It was the type of development Peabody needs and wants very much as we try to get more commercial tax dollars, and stabilize tax rates on residents.

Well, we wonder how Mrs. Trainor and her South Peabody neighbors feel now.  That nice little, quiet bistro is now morphing into a noisy — and potentially disruptive — nightclub and hangout.

Ankeles and Palumbo will be back before the city council on Thursday to “amend” their entertainment license. They want to be able to have full-size bands in their new nightclub on that location. Rock? Reggae? Hip hop? A Three Dog Night Tribute band? In fact, these types of acts have already been playing there for months following a large expansion to the building. Maybe a couple of mediocre reviews about the food on Yelp made them look for an alternate revenue stream?

Clearly, they’re already not living up to the terms of what was originally agreed to in their special permit, which means the city council should do the right thing here by the neighborhood. Tell Mr. Palumbo that his nightclub needs to close its doors for now, and tell Mr. Ankeles to bring his client back for a proper special permit hearing, where the neighbors can weigh in, and where the rights of the residents can be protected.

Who knows? Maybe the neighbors like eating firecracker chicken pasta while listening to some Danny Hutton lookalike sing “Joy to the World.” But come on guys, do it right. Either it passes muster with the neighbors, or you go back to serving spicy sausage mussels without a side of hip hop or rock ‘n roll.