SOUTH KINGSTOWN – Phil’s Restaurant received approval from the South Kingstown Town Council on Monday night to expand its liquor license, as part of an expansion that will transform the diner into a one-stop dinner and entertainment experience for patrons.
The restaurant’s owners, Kenneth Tetzner and his father Carl, plan to have renovations to the property’s three buildings completed by the start of summer. The pair said they will liven their business with a couple of firsts for the downtown area.
While the classic Phil’s diner will remain intact, the restaurant will expand into the building’s second floor and across a catwalk to an 1,100 square foot rooftop deck with seating for 44 guests.
Below the rooftop deck, in the building that recently housed the Little Red Trolley Gallery, there will be retail space. The council approved a liquor license expansion to the new dining areas and upgraded the Tetzner’s license from limited beer and wine sales to a full-service liquor license.
“Since we received the beer and wine, business has been good, but the only thing I would say is that we are missing out on a crowd of people – the martini crowd, as my father says,” Tetzner said. “We have had no issues with the town and we originally asked for the beer and wine to show the town that we could operate [with a limited liquor license] without issue.”
In accordance with stipulations set by the Zoning Board of Review, liquor will be served on the rooftop deck from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Tetzner partnered with a local theater troupe, the Contemporary Theater Company (CTC), to bring live entertainment to the property as well – in hopes of attracting even more restaurant business. Tetzner and the CTC are in the process of renovating the old Hera Gallery building behind the restaurant into a 90-seat performance hall.
The renovated theater will be unveiled with the CTC’s performance and the Rhode Island premiere of the farce “Is He Dead?” by Mark Twain on July 6. Comedies “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)” and “The Foreigner” will round out the summer season at the 323 Main Street location.
Liquor will also be served in the theater preceding and throughout performances.
The council voted 4-0 to approve the liquor license expansion and upgrade to allow full-service liquor sales. Council President Ella Whaley recused herself.
In other business:
- The council unanimously endorsed a resolution adopted by the Narragansett Town Council on March 19 opposing Gov. Lincoln Chafee’s proposed 2 percent tax increase on meals and beverages and further expansion of the lodging tax.
“There is vehement opposition throughout the tourism industry,” councilor James O’Neill said. “This is the one growth industry in the state of Rhode Island and this is going to be a terrible blow to it. I say we support the opposition to this.”
- Town Manager Stephen Alfred announced that Stony Fort Road would be closed to two-way traffic from April 16 to April 20 in order to replace a drainage pipe to the east of Slocum Road.
- The state Department of Environmental Management awarded a grant for $53,000 to the town Recreation Department to help pay for the installation of six dugout roof structures on three ball fields and a retainer wall on a softball field at the Broad Rock play fields. The grant will also provide funding for the installation of a staircase from the parking lot to the dog park and to run the water line to the dog park for the installation of a water fountain. The town also received $6,500 from the Rhode Island Foundation to support improvements to the dog park, Alfred said, adding that the work would be completed in the fall.