Strip District restaurant raided by Liquor Control Enforcement

PITTSBURGH — A restaurant in the Strip District, which had been closed twice by the Allegheny County Health Department for COVID-19 violations, was raided by Pennsylvania State Police Liquor Control Enforcement agents on Friday after police said the location was illegally selling alcohol.

Police said SAVOY Restaurant and Wine Bar, on Penn Avenue in the Strip District, was open and selling alcohol without a valid liquor license after the restaurant’s liquor license had been placed in “safekeeping” on Oct. 29, which means operations under the license must cease.

“I was shocked, to be honest with you. There were 50 police down here. My staff was frightened. I was, like, ‘Where’s due process?’” said Charles Sanders, owner of Savoy.

The raid came after several complaints were made and undercover visits on two different dates.

“I know they’re targeting me. I really believe it’s real estate developers behind the scenes, putting pressure on the LCB cause they don’t want an African American club down here on the Strip,” Sanders said.

At around 5:45 p.m. Friday, officers from the Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement and the Pittsburgh City Police Department issued a search warrant at the location and seized about 116 gallons of malt or brewed beverages and about 1,035 liters of liquor and wine.

The Allegheny County Health Department had already closed SAVOY Restaurant twice this year for COVID-19 violations.

“I’m not saying I’m not guilty of what the infraction was. I don’t know. That’s what I’m saying. What’s the process? Where’s the judge? It definitely seems they made me guilty before innocent,” Sanders said.

Sanders told Channel 11 he’s working with his attorneys to get his liquor back and his license reinstated.