EAST GREENWICH–The town council approved a request at its July 12 meeting to expand the entertainment license for The Patio restaurant to provide amplified music.

The vote was 3-1 with Renu Englehart casting the lone no vote. Michael Donegan was absent from the meeting. 

Owners Angel and Jason Winpenny testified that amplification of the singer’s microphone is needed so that customers can hear the singer over the sound of the acoustic musicians.

Under the terms of their entertainment license, the Winpennys are permitted to have live music, but it must only be acoustic, with no amplification.

With the approval for the amplification request, the Winpennys must follow all of the other terms of the license, which, in addition to acoustic music only, includes not violating the town’s noise ordinance, that music end by 10:30 p.m., and be held on Fridays and Saturdays only.

The Winpennys had also requested to be allowed to expand their business to increase its capacity on days there is music.

Council members made it clear that there would be no increase in capacity permitted.

The Winpennys created a media buzz last month when they went before the town’s zoning board of review concerning a large tent they had erected in their parking lot to hold an increased capacity permitted under an executive order issued by Gov. Dan McKee during the pandemic.

The order urged restaurants to expand their spaces to include outdoor dining.

The governor, in issuing his executive order said allowing outdoor dining would enable restaurants to expand their capacity during the length of order. He has since extended that order until July 23.

The order permitted the erection of the tent, and to expand seating capacity from the 21 customers permitted in the small indoors section of the restaurant, to doubling that total to 42 with the addition of seating outside under the tent.

The Winpennys sought a variance from the town’s zoning board of review to be relieved from having to follow the town’s parking guidelines because the erection of the tent in The Patio’s parking lot reduced the number of parking spaces in the lot.

While, the governor’s executive order permitted the siting of the tent, and expansion of seating capacity, the Winpennys still needed a variance to exempt them from the town’s parking ordinance.

They told the zoning board that they intended to set up a valet service at the restaurant. Patrons would drop off their vehicle at the front door, and a valet would move their car to an offsite parking lot, and return the vehicle when the customers were done dining.

Because of the number of residents, and fellow restaurant owners speaking in favor and against the application were so numerous, the zoning board voted to continue the public hearing on the parking variance request until its July 27 meeting, at which time the Winpennys are schedule to argue their case.

In other council business, members voted to transfer of the food and alcohol license from Amico’s Inc., doing business as Pals Restaurant at 43 Division Street to HWGA, LLC, doing business a the Water Street Kitchen and Bar at 28 Water Street.

Pals, a longtime favorite in East Greenwich closed recently.

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