GODFREY — Cowboy Slim’s Smokehouse and Saloon closed Thursday after a Madison County Sheriff’s deputy served notice of a liquor license violation to the establishment, said the Godfrey mayor who also serves as the village liquor commissioner.
“I had to pull their liquor license; we got notification that their dram shop insurance was canceled,” Mayor Mike McCormick said to The Telegraph Thursday evening about the bar at 7120 Montclair Ave. “They have to have that to serve liquor.”
Dram shop liability insurance covers proprietors of a business that serves alcohol. The insurance protects them from being liable for accidents caused by customers who became intoxicated inside the business.
“The Madison County Sheriff’s Department served them (at) about 4:30 p.m. (Thursday); they shut them down, told them they had to lock the door,” McCormick recounted.
Cowboy Slim’s owner and chef, Amanda Castelli, has been involved with other establishments including The Rotten Apple at 220 W. Main St. in Grafton where she managed the bar and restaurant owned by Chris Hines, who Castelli had previously described as her boyfriend. The duo began operating the Grafton pub in approximately September 2012, when they took over the bar and grill from the previous owner, Jesse Jones, who continued to own the building and leased it to Hines.
By September 2013, while the Grafton Rotten Apple had been closed and also faced a liquor license violation in Grafton, Hines and Castelli opened a new Godfrey restaurant on approximately Aug. 31, 2013, also called The Rotten Apple Pub and Grill at 7120 Montclair Ave., where it closed in approximately December 2013. McCormick said to the Telegraph at the time that the bar had no issues with the village.
Then Castelli, as Cowboy Slim’s sole owner and its chef, opened the bar and grill this past Jan. 29. In a previous interview with the Telegraph, she said she named the bar and grill after Cowboy Slim Rinehart, who she said was one of the first singing cowboys.
At Grafton’s first city council meeting of September 2013, Grafton Mayor Tom Thompson announced the suspension of the Grafton Rotten Apple’s liquor license. The Jersey County Sheriff’s Department had cited the establishment a few months earlier for serving liquor to minors and the fine of $100 to the city had yet to be paid, Thompson explained at the meeting. The fine was paid the day after the meeting and the liquor license became active again, Thompson subsequently told the Telegraph.
The Grafton Rotten Apple never reopened and the city of Grafton was left with a steep unpaid water bill from the business. The city eventually collected the debt but not without further effort. Hines and Jones, who still owned the building, appeared before the Grafton City Council which asked for the bill’s payment or any subsequent establishment in the building, would not be granted a liquor license. Jones paid the water bill, he said.
Castelli also is in an owner partnership at High Flyers Grille in Bethalto, along with Jerseyville’s Tony’s North proprietors Paul and Erin Ventimiglia, who is Hines’ sister.
McCormick said when Hines and Castelli talked to him about opening the Rotten Apple in Godfrey, they told him they both were involved in Jake’s Steaks, a popular restaurant at Laclede’s Landing in St. Louis, which now is closed.
The mayor said he looked forward to a good restaurant to move into 7120 Montclair Ave., which had been vacant for years, since it was Sid’s Roadhouse owned by Sid Ingram. Castelli has said she and Hines lease the building from Ingram. Before it was Sid’s Roadhouse, Ingram’s wife and daughter ran a restaurant called Sycamore Inn, McCormick said.
Jill Moon can be reached at (618) 208-6448 and Twitter @jill_moon.