Mozza Fights for Its Liquor License in Newport

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Mozza Photo: Arnold/Inuyaki via Flickr

It's been less than two months since Mozza opened its doors in Newport. Unfortunately, the Silverton-Batali-Bastianich collaboration is being threatened with the loss of its liquor license, which it had been initially approved for. The L.A. Times reports that a local planning commissioner has appealed a decision to grant Pizzeria Mozza its liquor permit, though at least one member of the City Council says they will back Mozza's plan. How could an established success like Mozza be faced with such a hurdle?

It comes down to that old bugaboo we saw in play when Soho House was trying to open in West Hollywood and poor Jeff Cerciello struggled to start dinner at Farmshop: Rich people getting paranoid that a liquor license will lead to noise disturbances in their neighborhoods. Sure, Mozza is on a street with plenty of other businesses, but some people who live on the bluffs above (most likely the same beautiful bluffs no one wanted to see cleared for their homes in the first place) fear that one too many bottles of Brunello will cause fine-diners to invade their homes with torches and snatch their bodies...or something.

The concern is really rooted in Mozza's planned full-service bar, as the restaurant chose to have a full-bar instead of just beer and wine. Initially approved, an objection was raised by a member of Newport's Planning Commission, overturning the approval until neighbors can have a pow wow and discuss their fears of the Mozza-fueled mobs.

The Planning Commission will discuss the matter next Thursday, but it looks like Mozza has some powerful allies in place, like Councilwoman Leslie Knope Daigle who says she'll fight for Mozza's license if the Planning Commission votes to revoke it, saying, "Here's a business that creates jobs, and we want them to flourish. We want them to thrive, and not create bureaucratic delays." Anyway, Newport, this is Mozza, not Barney's Beanery. Get over your fears.

Mario Batalis Pizzeria Mozza in O.C. faces liquor license fight [LAt]