Restaurant With Troubled History Could Shut Down From NYE Plans

Franque Thompson

OMAHA (KPTM)- A place in the Old Market has already had its fair share of trouble for operating as a night club when it's not supposed to. Tuesday, Italian restaurant and lounge, Maria Sangria, is planning to kick off a new spin to its business for the new year, but the city says it could potentially be in violation of city ordinances and run the risk of being shut down for good.

Restaurant or night club? That's the question many are now asking about Maria Sangria. Or is it "Mix?"

Facebook posts and flyers about a New Years Eve party held at the restaurant are what's causing a stir between the city and the business. The flyer said the grand opening of "Mix" cocktails on tap is Tuesday night, giving the impression that Maria Sangria is changing its name and business.

"You cannot tell the city council, you're going to be an Italian restaurant and then decide on your own you're going to be a night club. When that happens the city council can take action to remove the liquor license," said deputy city attorney, Tom Mumgaard.

The restaurant already lost its liquor license fall, but the restaurant appealed to the state and got it back temporarily. Though, the Facebook post said "Mix" will be a sports bar and grill--the owner said something else.

Maria Scalise, the owner of Maria Sangria, said business will run as usual. The signs on the building still say Maria Sangria. Scalise said the only thing that is changing is their selection of drinks.

So which is it?

"I have no faith in them what so ever of them following the rules or doing what they're going to tell the city that they're going to do," said Brandon Henery, general manager of Mexican restaurant Michael's, which is next door to Maria Sangria.

Mumgaard sent a notice to abate to Scalise, stating that if there is any kind of problem or nuisance at Maria Sangria, the city will shut it down. Scalise said that won't be a problem because there won't be any kind of party there--just some people gathering to bring in the new year.

Maria Sangria lost its liquor license earlier in the fall for violating city ordinance. The restaurant took an appeal to the state and is temporarily allowed to serve alcohol until the state decides to let the restaurant keep or revoke the license.