Photo: Steve Thurston
The king of Swamp Castle, in the movie “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” urges his son to marry the daughter of a local landowner because they have huge tracts of land.
The king reminds the prince that they built a castle and it sank into the swamp. “So we built another one, and it sank into the swamp,” the King says. The third castle burned down and fell into the swamp, but the fourth stayed up! The prince is not convinced by this line of reasoning, but the king pushes on: “We live in a bloody swamp, we need all the land we can get!”
At the county board meeting Saturday morning, attorney Howard Birmiel sounded as though he had taken a cue from the king. Arguing for a live entertainment license for the Pines of Italy restaurant at 3111 Columbia Pike, the attorney had to admit that the past activity had been miserable, but that the future would be better.
"The community has not been supportive" Birmiel said, and then began the explanation.
“Many years ago, the current business owner, Mr. [Jorge] Escobar, made some mistakes and his [live music] license was terminated” in 2001.
Escobar then rented to a nice Ethiopian restaurant. They sold their company to a man “who was somewhat lawless...and didn’t pay the rent,” Birmiel said, so Escobar threw that company out.
The next tenant, Sammy Khan, was “totally lawless” and did not go without a long legal fight, Birmiel said. “We finally got him out of the property,” Birmiel said.
"Having pillaged the neighborhood I understand the community doesn’t want any more entertainment license there," Birmiel said.
Still, he made the argument that the restaurateurs who lease space from Escobar now are different. They deserve a chance to have live entertainment.
Like prince Herbert who did not want to marry the girl, the county board did not agree to this arrangement.
First, about a half-dozen community members stood before the board and recounted fights, loud noise, trash and other problems in their neighborhood, Arlington Heights, just behind the building.
"The past six months [when there has been no live entertainment] have been probably the most pleasant that I've had since I moved in," said Melanie Myers who lives behind the restaurant in the 900 block of S. Highland Street. She recounted noise at 11 p.m. on Friday that lasted until 3 or 4 in the morning and kept her from enjoying weekends at home.