Rolling Rock. Heineken. Mike’s Hard Lemonade.
The wall-mounted menu inside Naples Pizza and Restaurant still bears these alcoholic mainstays and their prices, but the popular hangout will no longer be able to sell them illegally to Yale students — or legally to anybody — until mid-March.
Their 75-day liquor license suspension — which the state Liquor Control Commission levied after Naples unlawfully sold alcohol to minors one time too many — began this Monday. Although employees refused to comment, Yalie patrons said the hard-luck pizza joint might have trouble coping with its new, dry era.
“I know some people go there just to hang out with friends,” said Jeffrey Amster ’02, Ezra Stiles Student Activities Committee president, “but it’s clear that they’re going to lose business without alcohol.”
Even owner Anthony Prifitera is uncertain about the future of his establishment.
“It all depends upon whether we can come up with some alternatives [to alcohol],” Prifitera said. “We have to comply with the LCC.”
But recently, complying with the LCC has not been Prifitera’s strong suit.
Liquor agents raided the establishment last March and again last September. Both times they found Naples employees selling alcoholic beverages to minors, and both times the restaurant was hit with harsh penalties. This time, Prifitera said he will thoroughly abide by the terms of the agreement he reached in October with the LCC.
And if Prifitera does not keep his word, Gerald Langlais will be lying in wait.
Langlais, an LCC administrator, explained that Prifitera has endured “progressive penalties,” where every subsequent offense prompts an increasingly strict punishment.
“If they get more complaints, they might be in for a real severe penalty,” Langlais said.
Clearly, many Yalies will miss Naples’ trademark non-existent carding policies and are sad to see at least the temporary end of an era, but not all sons of Eli sympathize with the punishment-prone pizzeria.
“The authorities were just doing their job,” Denise Bertholin ’05 said.
The liquor license suspension was just one part of the bargain. Prifitera must also create a separate 21-and-over room for the sale of alcoholic beverages. He also agreed to install a digital scanning machine that would use computer graphics technology to judge the legitimacy of patron IDs.
Prifitera also suffered a $12,500 fine as part of the deal with the LCC.
Langlais said he thinks the action taken against Naples will make other local restaurants and pubs sober up to reality.
“When word of a crackdown like this gets out, similar establishments are going to try their hardest not to fall into [the] same trap,” Langlais said.