Scrambled surprise: N.S. diner operates 24 hours a day on 18 hour a day license

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NORTH SMITHFIELD – A popular diner that’s stayed open 24 hours a day since 2013 is just now seeking the appropriate license for the hours, an oversight town officials looked to remedy this week.

Denny’s Restaurant at Dowling Village was among dozens of town businesses seeking an annual renewal of their license from the Town Council on Monday, Nov. 18. The restaurant chain has been open 24 hours a day, seven days a week since Monday, June 10, 2013, serving up Grand Slam Breakfasts and Cinnamon Roll Pancakes to hungry guests.

But as the yearly renewal came up in 2019, Town Clerk Lillian Silva Scott noticed an issue. The license previously approved and renewed by the council listed hours as 6 a.m. to 12 a.m.

“Denny’s has, in fact, been running 24/7 forever, and it was only recently discovered in the clerk’s office that there wasn’t a permit on file,” explained Town Administrator Gary Ezovski Monday.

Councilor Paul Zwolenski questioned how many calls for police and fire services the restaurant has had with the early morning hours.

“I have some concerns with 24/7 operations,” said Zwolenski. “I’m not saying that it’s going to be a rowdy place. I’m just concerned about any potential problems.”

Zwolenski noted that only a few 24 hour a day licenses have been granted for businesses in North Smithfield.

Fire Chief David Chartier said that while he didn’t have the data with him Monday night, he didn’t believe the business has had an excessive number of calls.

“If the fire chief hasn’t had that many calls, that’s good,” said Councilor Terri Bartomioli.

Councilor Douglas Osier said he still wanted to hear from the police department.

“It’s kind of interesting that they were operating 24/7 without the license to begin with,” said Osier.

Solicitor David Igliozzi said that there was a discussion with police about holding off on any kind of enforcement for the time being once the error was discovered.

“That’s a law enforcement issue,” said Igliozzi. “It’s not the clerk’s job.”

Councilor Claire O’Hara said she didn’t want to hurt the business.

“It was an oversight. We were wrong not to catch it,” O’Hara said.

Councilors unanimously approved the 24 hour license with the stipulation that they will review reports from the police and fire departments at their next regular meeting in two weeks.

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