NARRAGANSETT – Benny’s Clam Shack, the recently opened seafood eatery on Sand Hill Cove Road, will start serving alcoholic beverages and look to expand its hours of operation after the Narragansett Town Council unanimously granted the new business a liquor license at a meeting Monday. Benny’s Clam Shack owner and president David Thomas was present at the meeting, where he testified the license would complement other changes he is making at the restaurant and allow him to grow the business in Narragansett. Thomas also owns and operates a second Benny’s Clam Shack location on High Street in Wakefield.
“I’ve been through the process of trying to get the beer and wine license just to expand on not just the seafood, but expand the menu a bit as well,” said Thomas Monday. “Trying to get some steaks, some pork, some fish, just to kind of expand a little bit further than what I’m doing just to try to get some of the locals in the town to come down. The beer and wine would fit well with what I’m doing.”
Thomas said the Narragansett location was a bit bigger than the Wakefield Benny’s Clam Shack, after questions regarding the size of the business from Narragansett Town Councilor Jesse Pugh. As part of the changes, Thomas envisions for the restaurant, hours of operation would also expand to last call, which is 1 a.m. The business is currently open until 9 p.m.
“I’m looking to keep it open, if I’m able to, until last call,” he said. “I have a lot of people in the industry that are friends and they come down and support me. I want them to be able to come and enjoy Monday Night Football, or whatever it may be. I also do a lot of appetizer specials, you know wing specials. I know the procedures. I have a full liquor license at my other place and I know the procedures. I take it very seriously.”
Formerly a resident of Coventry, Thomas still owns and operates a restaurant there, Brewmasters Tavern, which serves both beer and hard alcohol. The restaurant owner and former marine now lives with his family in Narragansett, a point he made when asked by council members if he was a resident of the town.
During the public hearing on the liquor license application Monday, residents were unanimously in support of Thomas being granted the license in an effort to expand his business.
“I think any eatery in order to survive really needs that liquor license,” said Stanley Wojciechowski, a resident who attends nearly every council meeting. “If there’s a problem, we can always take it back later. We should allow him to have the license so he can prosper and give us another menu, another choice. It’s nice to have a choice of where and what to eat. I support this, and I hope you do too.”
“My dad, my whole family, we’re all into supporting small businesses,” said Dr. Albert Alba, a resident. “This gentleman, I guess he has a couple of other establishments that he’s operating successfully with the liquor license, so based on past practice, he is a very responsible gentleman, he and his family. I’m in support of all small businesses if they are responsible and doing a good job. When you help small businesses out, I think you help the whole town out.”
Ultimately, Thomas was unanimously granted a Class BV-limited liquor license (beer and wine) for Benny’s Clam Shack in Narragansett.
There are multiple types of liquor licenses in Narragansett fitting to specific scenarios. The most popular include Class A (package stores), Class D (clubs) and Class B. Class B licenses are split into three different specifications – Class BV Limited – Beer and Wine (restaurant), Class B Tavern (full liquor license with rooms available) and Class B Victualing (full liquor license for restaurants). The town distributed 34 liquor licenses to local businesses in 2018.
The Benny’s Clam Shack located in Wakefield does not currently have a liquor license of any kind.
Benny’s Clam Shack is located at 12 Sand Hill Cove Road in Narragansett and 58 High St. in Wakefield.