Mom & Pops owner says he was squeezed out of Fridays at Third |

Mom & Pops owner says he was squeezed out of Fridays at Third


Paradise Cove and Mom and Pops owner Doug Cramer said his restaurant will co-host a concert series outside the Carson Mall starting next Friday.

The new concert series comes after Cramer was denied a temporary liquor license to participate in the Friday’s at Third concert series this summer – an event he and his wife Jamesa started on Third Street nine years ago.

“Bottom line is they’ve basically pushed me out,” Cramer said. “I’m done with Friday’s at Third and we’re going to start something at Paradise Cove.”

The city and the Brewery Arts Center have run the Friday’s at Third concert series since 2008, which now includes professional stage lighting and sound.

Cramer learned last week he had been denied a permit to sell alcohol on the street outside Mom and Pops Diner. He still owes $2,483.33 from the $7,000 contract he signed with the Brewery Arts Center last year, according to city documents. Organizers for the separate Taste of Downtown said he will be allowed to sell alcohol outside during that event on June 19.

All three businesses on Third Street – Mom and Pops Diner, The Firkin and Fox and Bella Fiore Wines – signed $7,000 contracts to cover half of the costs associated with the event last summer. The city covers the other half of the outdoor music series, which costs about $42,000.

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Cramer said he refused to pay the outstanding balance on last summer’s contract because, he claims, organizers gave favorable treatment in bar placement to The Firkin and Fox.

Jim Phalan, owner of The Firkin and Fox, said his business was allowed to place a bar on the street according to the contract all three businesses signed.

Phalan said he also paid for the businesses’ total costs of $21,000 for the 2008 concert series, which Cramer agreed to.

“It’s a crappy economy out here and everybody is trying to do their bit,” Phalan said. “But at the end of the day I paid for Doug’s portion (in 2008), but then the second year he paid, but constantly undermined us. What more can we can do?”

Event organizer John Procaccini, director of the Brewery Arts Center, said he offered to reduce Cramer’s outstanding balance by about half last week, but Cramer refused the offer.

Chad Mena, one of the owners of Bella Fiore Wines, a wine bar next door to Mom and Pops Diner, said they also will not participate in Friday’s at Third this year.

“We’re still paying for last year’s event, and I don’t think a lot of people realize that it’s not just the city paying for these events,” Mena said. “We’re going to do what we can to keep it going.”

The concert series outside the Carson Mall, which starts next Friday, will feature rock and blues bands. The Carson Mall is co-sponsoring the event, said property manager Kevin Ray.

Paradise Cove, Cramer’s new restaurant, will provide food and beverages as will Charley’s Grilled Subs, L&L Hawaiian Barbecue and Paul Schat’s Bakery.

“When the tide is high all boats rise, and I live by that statement,” Procaccini said. “If Doug Cramer does a concert series, and our bars and restaurants and gas station or clothing stores benefit by it, then it’s the epitome of when the tide is high all boats rise.”

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