2010.08.30 Rio Update -- as we understand:
On August 1, Mr. Tak Yoon, owner of Rio Restaurant and Lounge (aka "Rio Lounge"), 13501 Baltimore Ave at Contee Rd, in Prince George's County immediately adjacent to South Laurel, hired a new Business Manager, Mr. Amit Patel, and a new Marketing Manager, Mr. Vincent (Vito) Catlett. Mr. Patel is the owner of the recently closed Side Pockets Bar & Grill (904 Fairlawn Avenue) in the Laurel Shopping Center (behind Books-A-Million). Mr. Catlett is also from Side Pockets.
On Aug 10, at their request, Mr. Patel and Mr. Catlett met with the Pastor of the adjacent Touch of Love Bible Church, and a few other South Laurel community leaders who could quickly fit the Pastor's schedule. Mr. Patel and Mr. Catlett expressed their sincere intent to operate an "upscale" business for "mature clientèle" (mainly ages 25-55). We expressed the community's expectation that they operate fully within the conditions of Rio's occupancy permit and liquor license, which were established to ensure peace and safety at that historically violent location. Mr. Patel and Catlett gave assurances that they would definitely operate in compliance. For example, they said that recently, on the first night they posted and enforced their new dress code, they had to turn away about 100 people (mostly former Side Pockets customers, many of whom came back later and passed the dress code). A public hearing is scheduled on December 8 to review Rio's liquor license conditions.
Meanwhile, Rio has launched a strategy to increase dinner customers in the early evening hours, with a new menu and with dinner-oriented events during Happy Hour (3 pm - 8 pm). Those Happy Hour events have included a successful networking dinner on July 27 with 150 business professionals attending, and new twice-a-month "Steppin" style dancing and dinner. See the following event flyer being distributed by Rio.