ONSET (WBSM) — An Onset eatery that had been offering free country line dancing lessons to its patrons will have to put a temporary hold on those and any other special events following Tuesday night’s Select Board meeting.

Onset Beach Patio & Grille owner Frank Evangelista told WBSM he was informed during the meeting that he could not continue the lessons, among other things, until he procures an entertainment license.

“Unfortunately, it’s not allowed,” he said. “They also told us we’re not allowed to have radios or TVs playing without an entertainment license. It makes it hard to run a restaurant without them.”

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The restaurant had been offering the free country line dancing lessons, taught by Salty Boots Line Dancing, since June. Those in attendance got to dance on the deck overlooking Onset Beach and its picturesque harbor views while enjoying the night air under the patio lights.

Evangelista said the crowds for the lessons had been “pretty decent.”

“It has a good following,” he said. “The intention behind it was growth for the town, to try to make some fun things for the town. Free dancing lessons was just one of the little things we wanted to do to add to the allure of the restaurant.”

According to Wareham Week, Evangelista was called before the Select Board for license violations following an investigation by Wareham Police into businesses that were misusing their licenses.

Evangelista told the Select Board he did not know he needed an entertainment license for the dancing lessons, radio or TVs and apologized to the board for not following the correct procedure.

According to the Town of Wareham website, a “Public Amusement on Weekdays License for Dancing” would cost $155 annually. A Sunday license would be an additional $340 annually.

Evangelista said the Select Board told him it would be a “minimum of 30 days” before he could get the entertainment license and go back to offering the dance lessons.

WBSM reached out to the Wareham Select Board via email to find out the exact time frame and process but no reply had been received as of this writing. We will update this story if there is a response.

Onset Beach Patio & Grille via Facebook
Onset Beach Patio & Grille via Facebook

Does needing a license discourage Evangelista, who bought the business in March 2022 and took over full ownership in November 2022, from implementing some of his other ideas for fun things to do at the restaurant?

“I don’t know, it depends,” he said. “It’s been a tough run. I’ve been dealing with some other things, such as the previous ownership being incarcerated, and some of the nasty things I’ve had to deal with. With this added to it, some things are just not meant to be.”

Former owner Stavros “Steve” Papantoniadis was indicted earlier this year on five counts of forced labor and three counts of attempted forced labor. It is alleged that while operating his “Stash’s Pizza” chain, including the current Onset Beach Patio & Grille location, Papantoniadis hired workers who lacked immigration status, overworked them without breaks, withheld wages, and physically abused and threatened his employees.

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