Pittsfield Mexican restaurant placed on probation

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PITTSFIELD — A North Street Mexican restaurant needs to stay trouble-free during the next six months or risk a reduction in hours.

The Licensing Board on Monday unanimously agreed — with member Dennis Powell absent — to place Panchos on six months' probation for a series of disturbances at the eatery late last year and early this year.

Board member Richard Stockwell urged owner Jesus Chairez to avoid further incidents throughout the probationary period.

"If you can't control the crowd after 12 o'clock, one o'clock, we could cut back your hours for a few weeks," Stockwell said during a show-cause hearing.

According to separate city police reports, the incidents occurred Dec. 29, Feb. 2 and March 23, each between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. on a Saturday.

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The first two disturbances involving a few people outside Panchos quickly broke up as or after officers arrived at the scene. The most serious incident in March involved a police estimate of 30 to 40 people, yelling and shoving, the crowd spilling out onto North Street, police Lt. John Soules told the board. Soules said the responding officers called for backup to help disperse the crowd. No arrests were made and no injuries were reported during all three skirmishes.

Chairez, through his attorney Mark Brennan, said a disc jockey he hired for entertainment on the weekend of March 22 resulted in the unruly crowd, and he will no longer entertain at the restaurant.

This was Panchos' first appearance before the city for possible liquor license infractions, which the board took into consideration in issuing its punishment.

"You've taken the right steps, but as we get into warmer weather, things can escalate again," board member Dina Guiel cautioned Chairez.

Dick Lindsay can be reached at rlindsay@berkshireeagle.con and 413-496-6233.


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