One liquor license is changing locations, which could result in a downtown location finally reopening. The other liquor license, may mean that a restaurant that has been closed since early 2016 will finally reopen on Broadway.

Willy’s Burger Bar & Rotisserie

Back on November 29th, we reported that Ciro’s Pomodoro Italian Restaurant & Bar, a new Italian restaurant, had purchased the Class BV alcoholic beverage license (full restaurant liquor license) from Willy’s Burger Bar & Rotisserie and planned on using it at 10 Brown & Howard Wharf.

That sale appears to have fallen through as there has been an application filed with the City Of Newport’s Board of License Commissioners to transfer Willy’s liquor license from 599 Thames Street to “Liquor Thames, LLC” at 282 Thames Street, Caroly Rafaelian’s Local Mercantile Café (formerly Teas & Javas).

Rafaelian, Founder and CEO of Alex & Ani, purchased the property back in November of 2015 for $2.9 million. It has been rumored for months that they were actively looking for a liquor license for the location that has been closed and under construction since October 21st, 2015. The investment is 100% in the name of Carolyn A. Rafaelian Trust 2004, Carolyn A. Rafaelian Trustee & Beneficiary.

Local Mercantile Newport Café, or Local Mercantile Cafe, will offer “thoughtfully crafted dishes made by talented people”, according to a sign placed in the window.

Willy’s was put on the market on November 6th, 2015 for $1.2 million, the purchase price included the 100 seat restaurant, full liquor license, 2,456 square foot commercial building and a vacant buildable lot. The liquor license, business name, inventory and equipment were listed then for $300,000. According to Willy’s website, they will be closed for renovations until further notice. The owners of Willy’s opened Picnic Gourmet & Café in March 2016 on Bellevue.

Newport City Council, acting as the Board of License Commissioners, will review the application on Wednesday, April 12th at 6:30 pm in the Council Chambers at Newport City Hall.


Hope has been on the market since February 19, 2016 and it now looks like there’s new identity and owners coming for the lower Broadway restaurant.

An application filed by NWPT, INC. would transfer the Class VB alcoholic beverage license to 8-10 Broadway Newport, LLC which is made up of  two companies – 7950 Investments LLC.  – 50% (Scott W. Pray 100% membership) and NAG Investment, LLC – 50% (Nicholas A. Giacobbi 100% membership).

The liquor license application does say the license will be used at the same premises, the new name for the business is to be determined.

The restaurant, which included the liquor license, was originally listed in February 2016 with Libby Kirwin Real Estate for $1.5 million. The property, according to a sign still on the outside of the building, was last listed by Keller Williams. The property is currently not listed as available on Keller Williams website.

Newport City Council, acting as the Board of License Commissioners, will review the application on Wednesday, April 12th at 6:30 pm in the Council Chambers at Newport City Hall.

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Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What's Up Newp. He was born and raised in Rhode Island and graduated from Coventry High School. He serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and serves on the Board of Directors for Potter League for Animals. Ryan also is currently the Senior Editor - North America for Mountain News, publisher of OnTheSnow. Ryan is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).