Arlington Heights won't give liquor license to new restaurant owner who sold booze to minor

  • Arlington Heights trustees voted 8-1 Monday to deny a liquor license to the new owner of a Mowa, a Korean restaurant at 4216 N. Arlington Heights Road.

    Arlington Heights trustees voted 8-1 Monday to deny a liquor license to the new owner of a Mowa, a Korean restaurant at 4216 N. Arlington Heights Road. Bob Susnjara | Staff Photographer

Posted11/19/2019 5:30 AM

Arlington Heights trustees on Monday rejected a liquor license for a Korean fried chicken restaurant after its new owner recently got fined for selling alcohol to a minor at another restaurant and failed to disclose that information on his application.

Most applications for liquor licenses sail through village board committee meetings. But trustees and the mayor, who doubles as local liquor control commissioner, grilled business owner Dong Kim Monday night before voting 8-1 to deny him the license to serve booze at Mowa, 4216 N. Arlington Heights Road.


The session lasted nearly a half-hour, already rescheduled from two weeks earlier when Kim didn't show up because of what he said was his scheduling mistake.

"I'm really concerned you really want this, but my comfort level is that I just need you to be more responsible for this liquor license," said Trustee John Scaletta. "Serving an underage person, making mistakes on your application, and missing your first liquor license interview gives me great concern that you're not taking it as seriously as we are.

"This is serious. This is a liquor license. It's a privilege."

Kim was issued a local ordinance citation for selling alcohol to a minor Feb. 7 at his father's restaurant, San Korean Cuisine, 234 E. Golf Road.

Kim, who recently purchased Mowa from previous owners, said he didn't intend to omit the information. Instead, it was merely an oversight after he use his father's original application as a template, Kim said.

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He says he graduated from college last December and was helping out at the family restaurant when the police sting took place and he made an "absent-minded mistake" by not looking at the driver's license more carefully.

After the violation, Kim said, he completed online BASSET training, an educational class for alcohol sellers and servers, in February or March. He couldn't locate proof of having paid for the class, but he did provide officials with email documentation dated in October.

Kim asked for a second chance, but only Trustee Mary Beth Canty voted against the motion to deny the liquor license, which didn't transfer with the change in business ownership,

"We have been incredibly careful since then," he said. "I don't know what else I could provide to you exactly other than to take another chance at it. I am very new to this. If you can trust I'm doing in the best interest of my family and we're trying to be in the best interest of the village of Arlington Heights."

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