Code enforcement officers forced a Middle Eastern restaurant in Sterling Heights to cease operations after it allegedly organized various illegal gambling activities for its visitors, which violated its agreement with the city. This is not the first time the venue was ordered to cease operations because it purportedly offered illegal gambling.
The owner of Tarboosh Cafe on 17 Mile Road west of Ryan Road once again faces accusations by city officials. He is expected to attend a hearing, scheduled for this August, during which the city’s Planning Commission is to determine whether or not concerns of illegal gambling taking place until early in the morning inside the restaurant are reasonable.
Chairman Pashko Ujkic said a hearing was initially scheduled for June this year when the Planning Commission had to determine whether or not the property complies with its conditional permit and operates as a restaurant or is used as a gambling venue. At a June 14 meeting, commissioner Parmpreet Sarau explained that the Planning Commission was presented with materials, which proved the cafe violated its conditional permit granted in July 2022.
The venue in question has been operating as a restaurant on a special land use permit in the Briarhill Shopping Center. But according to code enforcement officers and members of the Planning Commission, the restaurant owners violated their agreement with the city by allowing gambling onsite. Although the restaurant boasts a lengthy menu, it offers much fewer dishes. Robert Hannosh, the restaurant owner, refused to comment on the issue.
The Panning Commission scheduled a hearing for June 14, giving Hannosh 30 days to hire an attorney and prepare a defense. But he waited until the last moment to find a lawyer. According to Planning Commissioner Brandy Wright, Hannosh’s attorney, Robert Berg, asked commissioners for a two-month postponement of the hearing so he could have time to examine the case and determine how to proceed.
The Restaurant Owner Uses Awkward Practices to Cover Illegal Gambling Operations
The Panning Commission allowed the restaurant to operate on a special land use permit, under which the venue is not allowed to offer gambling activities or host gambling machines. Moreover, no banquets or private parties can take place in the restaurant. Smoking is also banned inside the eatery. However, members of the Planning Commission allowed the venue to stay open until 2 a.m. during the entire week and all weekends.
According to records, the owner of the restaurant had the intention to apply for a liquor license. However, Hannosh has not applied for such a permit yet. Some time ago, the Sterling Heights Fire Department stated that it would not approve the restaurant’s license because it violated protection and safety requirements several times.
Last September, Hannosh obtained a certificate of occupancy. But since then, city officials have registered multiple cases of gambling taking place inside the restaurant. According to records, visitors had to pay a small entry fee and meet a food consumption requirement to engage in the gambling activities offered at the restaurant.
After several inspections of the restaurant, officers concluded that the customers of the venue were men, and women have never attended this place. Besides, little to no food was consumed, and there were no plates or silverware on any of the tables. According to officials, the venue covers gambling operations by charging patrons a small entry fee. Hannosh told inspectors that the men usually passed by to “hang out” and they never ordered food, and that is why he decided to make them pay a cover fee.