Northbridge Restaurant Receives License Fee Waiver

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Laurieanne Kayhart and her husband spoke with the Northbridge Board of Selectmen about her restaurant liquor license
Laurieanne Kayhart and her husband spoke with the Northbridge Board of Selectmen about her restaurant liquor license Photo Credit: Deborah Gauthier

NORTHBRIDGE, Mass. – Anger over constant construction delays on the Ross J. Rajotte Memorial Bridge, and fear that another local business will close, prompted Northbridge selectmen on Monday to waive a $1,150 liquor license renewal fee.

Laurieann Kayhart, owner of Laurieann’s Restaurant on Providence Road in Rockdale, requested relief from the fee because the state project has been disrupting her business for almost two years.

At Monday’s meeting, selectmen exempted Kayhart from the fee, placing blame for her financial problems firmly with the state Department of Transportation.

Laurieann’s Restaurant is on the south side of the Ross J. Rajotte Memorial Bridge, which has been a state construction zone for about 18 months.

The $4 million bridge reconstruction was originally to be a year-long project scheduled for completion last August, but months of inactivity have put the project at least a year behind schedule.

The front of the restaurant is often blocked by large construction vehicles. “It ties up all our parking. Patrons are afraid to pull into the parking lot, seniors are scared to pull in due to heavy equipment and other times I am completely shut down because the entire lot is blocked,’’ Kayhart writes.

“There are weeks, due to lack of business, we have to throw all the food away,’’ she said.

“This is a very, very unique situation,’’ said Selectman Thomas J. Melia said who made the motion to forgive Kayhart the fee.

“Driving by and you never see anyone working; just basically talking. This should have been corrected a long time ago,’’ Melia said.

“We saw Friendly’s close; we saw Aubuchon’s close. What’s next? They’re close to closing,’’ Melia said of Laurieann’s.

“I’m here tonight to try to help you out,’’ he said to Kayhart who attended the meeting.

Selectman Chairman Daniel Nolan said he was somewhat concerned the board was setting a precedent, but Melia pointed out Kayhart’s issue was “unique’’ and Selectman Charles Ampagoomian noted the board considers such requests on a “case-by-case’’ basis.

Selectmen plan to invite Sen. Michael Moore, D-Millbury, Sen. Richard T. Moore and Rep. George Peterson, R-Grafton to the first board meeting in January to discuss the bridge issue.

“We need to put our feet down and make a strong point,’’ Ampagoomian said.

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Comments (10)

I don't think the parking is as bad on a Saturday evening as it would be on a week day when they are "suppose " to be working on the bridge. Hats off to the selectmen for seeing the problem the restaurant is having due to this drawn out project. Mr. Melia is right in saying you never see anyone working, they always seem to be standing around talking. The town should pick up some of the tab this restaurant has to lose on the food they have to throw out due to the obstruction, Better yet, perhaps the construction co should be picking up the tab. Its time they get fined for not doing the job in a timely matter.

Most contracks have a clause stating a fine for every day the job goes past the finish date, (the state gets this money) also I would think that they the contractor, asked for an extension when they found so much ledge and rock that wasn't expected. And the state more than likley gave in. (just my opion)

I went to Lauriann's with 3 friends this past Saturday. We arrived around 7 PM. There was only one other party in the dining room, and a few people at the bar. We were there over 3 hours, and no other customers came in while we were there, even though there were a couple of musicians performing (who were quite good, too!)
The food and service were great, and we had a good time.
Getting in & out is nowhere as difficult as it looks. Park on the right (north) side of the restautant, and exit via Hudson Ave to South Main Street, and this puts you back on Route 122. Very easy.
Please consider returning if you've been staying away due to the construction. Maybe the state could appropriate some funds for the workers to eat there.

Jethro the workers do not work for the state Maybe there boss should appropriate the funds. Remember the state is BROKE. (just saying)

I don't claim to know anything about construction, nor do I care. I just want the wasted time and money to stop and for people to do their jobs.

I don't claim to know anything about construction, nor do I care. I just want the wasted time and money to stop and for people to do their jobs.

I'm glad someone sees what I see! I drive by everyday and never see anyone doing work. They seem to be standing there all the time talking... And I have my concerns about the installation of those rusted, rotting metal pieces they are using too. How good is the bridge going to be after those pieces have been rotting for a year?

I feel bad for Laurieann. That building was abandoned for a while before she turned it into a nice little place. Something else needs to be done before it becomes an eye sore again.

Rotting metal pieces? Now you have admitted you know nothing about construction.

union man

Most people don't know as much about construction as you do.
Why don't you inform the writer about her "rotting steel" description?