Nick’s Pizza receives alcohol license suspension, two day shutdown

Oct 16, 2020

MATTAPOISETT — The Board of Selectmen suspended Nick’s Homemade Pizza House’s wine and malt license for seven days, and ordered a shutdown of the restaurant for two days at a hearing on Oct. 16 over mask compliance issues. 

The wine and malt suspension will last from Oct. 25 through Oct. 31, and the shutdown will occur on Oct. 25 and 26.

The board opened a hearing after numerous complaints were made about employees at Nick’s either not wearing masks or wearing them improperly. Over ten complaints were made between late May and late September. 

But when Mattapoisett Health Agent Kayla Davis inspected the restaurant over the summer, employees were all compliant with mask regulations.

Davis said “I kept getting complaints,” both before and after the inspection.

“It was never ‘we’ll try and talk to our employees,’” Davis said of her interactions with representatives from Nick’s. 

She said she was routinely met with excuses from the restaurant’s management upon confrontation. 

Davis said she was treated poorly at her most recent visit to Nick’s, when co-owner Thasani Vrackas said the restaurant would not follow the “fake mask rule.” 

Most complaints were anonymous, which led the board to wait on calling for a hearing until enough substantial complaints came from named residents. The board also had multiple points of contact with Nick about compliance before the hearing was called. 

“It’s my older brother. He’s hot-headed,” said Nick’s co-owner Kosta Vrackas, who represented Nick’s along with his mother Daphne. “That doesn’t reflect how we do business at Nick’s.”

Kosta said he spends much of his time at the restaurant telling employees to wear their masks properly.

He also defended the restaurant against some of the complaints. He said that up until two months ago, the restaurant had a teenage employee with asthma. Kosta said that he felt bad asking that employee to wear his mask all day. 

That employee left in July, and complaints about mask compliance were quiet throughout August. But they picked up again in September. 

Board Chair Paul Silva said that even though the board was steadfast in reopening local businesses as soon as possible at the beginning of the pandemic, one thing was more important. 

“And that is making sure our residents are safe when doing business with local businesses,” Silva said.

The board all agreed that Nick’s is a business that has always had a positive impact on Mattapoisett, but voted unanimously that violations had clearly been committed and action needed to be taken.

“[The complaints] were consistent enough that it made a pattern and a trend that I couldn’t ignore,” Vice Chair Jordan Collyer said. “The health and welfare of the community is first and foremost.”

The board initially agreed to suspend Nick’s Pizza’s wine and malt license for seven days, but debated how long the restaurant should be fully shut. 

Eventually, they unanimously voted on two consecutive days, one of which must occur on a weekend.

Davis will continue to monitor the restaurant throughout the alcohol suspension and closure, and will inspect Nick’s Pizza no later than Nov. 1, one day after Nick’s reopens.