PEPPERELL -- Selectmen voted unanimously to suspend Tea Cafe's liquor license for two days following alleged overserving of customers at the restaurant.

The suspension will be in effect on Oct. 17 and Oct. 18, during which time the restaurant will be required to turn in its liquor license at Town Hall.

Police Chief David Scott said the cafe, located at 2 Tarbell St., was identified as serving intoxicated customers who were involved in three separate police incidents.

In the first incident on Aug. 23, an intoxicated man was reported to police for banging on doors of apartments in a nearby apartment complex. When police arrived, the man claimed he was lost, and had had four or five drinks at the Tea Cafe.

Later that night, two intoxicated men got into a fight on Tarbell Street. When police arrived, they reported they had come from Tea Cafe.

On Sept. 6, a restaurant patron called police to report an out of control intoxicated male inside the restaurant, who Scott said had clearly been overserved.

Representatives from Tea Cafe denied overserving their customers, saying that they served two drinks to the individual in the first incident and one scorpion bowl to the man in the Sept. 6 incident.

They denied serving the two men who had been in the fight on Aug. 23.

Scott questioned why the men would report drinking more than they actually had.

"Usually when people talk to us, they go the opposite way," Scott said.


Selectman Michael Green asked them to present the board receipts proving how many drinks they had served.

Selectmen required that all servers become TIPS certified, and provide documentation of certification to the board.

TIPS, which stands for Training and Intervention Procedures for Servers of Alcohol, is an online training tool for those responsible for the service of alcohol. Although it is not mandated by the state of Massachusetts, TIPS training is highly recommended for all restaurant employees.

"It's not clear exactly what happened here, but it's clear that people were identifying the Tea Cafe with disorderly conduct, with fighting in other instances. So you guys really need to train yourselves better," Green said.

Green said that if the restaurant was brought before the board again, or if they failed to TIPS-certify all employees, they would face a harsher penalty.

"It will hurt a lot more the next time around," Green said.