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Back Taxes Likely Closed Main Street Tavern

Sign on front door indicates vendor's license revoked; county records show business owes more than $14,000 in back taxes

Regular customers of the will have to look elsewhere for a beer or sandwich.

A sign posted on the front door of the restaurant states the bar and grill's vendor's license has been revoked, and the business can no longer make retail sales as of July 7, 2011.

In Ohio, a vendor's license is required for every fixed place of business where taxable sales are made. The license is issued by the county auditor and managed at the state level by the Ohio Department of Taxation.

Howard Wheat, a spokesperson for the taxation department, said the state tax commissioner ordered the suspension of Main Street Tavern's vendor's license, prohibiting them from doing business.

"By law, we can’t tell why," Wheat said.

The eatery owes more than $14,000 in real property taxes, according to the Portage County Auditor's Office online records. The restaurant, doing business as Hart's Inc., is owned by Ellen & Lisa LLC, according to county records.

The owners could not be reached for comment. It's unclear if the closure is permanent.

Portage County Treasurer Steve Shanafelt said the owners made their last property tax payment in March 2010 when they came in to set up a payment plan for prior back taxes.

Shanafelt said records show the owners made the intial payment to start the plan but then didn't continue with the payment program.

The restaurant is not the first Kent business to close abruptly this year.

June 28. The owners are across from the Kent State University campus.

In February, . The reason for .

Matt Mullins, a spokesman for the Ohio Division of Liquor Control, said the agency was notified last year of the tax delinquency at Main Street Tavern and the bar's liquor permit was almost revoked then. But the Ohio Liquor Control Commission, a separate entity from the liquor division, granted renewal of the liquor permit in October 2010 on the condition they enter a payment plan for the back taxes.

"We have notice from the tax departmet of some kind of a tax problem that, if not resolved, could affect their upcoming renewal Oct. 1,” Mullins said.

Dave July 12, 2011 at 09:08 PM
I'm sad to see this. They were very nice people who worked hard and provided a great meal. But hey, at the end of the day you need to pay Uncle Sam... just too bad it came to this.
Kasha Legeza July 12, 2011 at 11:28 PM
Oh, now my husband has to change his lunch plans for tomorrow! A friend recently introduced him to the tavern and it became one of his fave restaurants! I hope it reopens so I can try some of the dishes he's been raving about!
Brian July 13, 2011 at 01:09 PM
Sorry to heear this. It was our favorite lunch place during the week. The food was good and the service was great. The server in the bar area was THE best; friendly AND very efficient.
Doug Pfeifer July 13, 2011 at 01:49 PM
I hope it's not permanent. Both the food and service were great!
Chip Souza July 13, 2011 at 02:31 PM
Can't they stay in business without the liquor license? Come up with the back taxes somehow? Seems to me that everyone is raving about the food & the service. Wouldn't it be the same with out the beer? Or does the service get better the more you drink? It seems like Ellen & Lisa have a great menu & give good service. Have they asked themselves if they can still do business without selling alcohol? Would the customers still come in without the alcohol?
Matt Fredmonsky July 13, 2011 at 07:01 PM
Chip, it's not their liquor license, but their vendor's license that was revoked. The vendor's license gives them the right to essentially do business in Ohio by making taxable retail sales on anything from eggs to beer. The liquor license too is in danger of being revoked. So right now they cannot legally do business because of the loss of their vendor's license. I hope that clears it up for you a little bit.

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