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TOPS Pizza fined for failing alcohol compliance check

The owner of TOPS Pizza and Hoagies was fined $1,000 for a liquor violation after failing a compliance check and serving an underage person liquor at the restaurant.

Restaurant owner Markos Chouliaris showed up for a liquor violation hearing Monday, Aug. 7, at Rosemount City Hall.

The business failed a compliance check on May 30. The purchaser entered the restaurant and was served alcohol by an employee of the establishment.

This is the restaurant's second violation in a three-year period. Chouliaris did not dispute the circumstances of the most recent violation on May 30. He disputed the prior violation that took place in December 2014 although he paid the civil penalty.

The Rosemount City Council listened to Chouliaris at the hearing. The council debated reducing the amount of the fine since the circumstances of the first fine were unclear and a minor stole the alcohol or did not pay in a party room area that was clearly marked and was not open to the public.

The city attorney recommended against reducing the fine for many legal reasons. City code states the minimum presumptive civil penalty to be imposed for the second violation within any three-year period is $1,000.

City staff recommended the minimum penalty of a $1,000 fine be paid. City staff said the penalty is consistent with the amount imposed for similar violations on other licenses.

The council voted to impose the penalty of $1,000 on the TOPS Pizza and Hoagies for a violation of the city's liquor license regulation.