Ecuadorian restaurant’s licence appeal clouded by its shocking past – South London News

Ecuadorian restaurant’s licence appeal clouded by its shocking past – South London News

By Robert Firth, Local Democracy Reporter

The cousin of a man murdered in front of his mum inside their family-run restaurant has asked the council to let it serve booze again three years after the eatery had its alcohol licence stripped.

Irina Elizabeth Solorzano Chango told a Southwark council licensing meeting on Thursday of last week that Rincon Costeno was losing customers to other Latin American restaurants in Elephant and Castle because it couldn’t serve wine with meals.

Ms Solorzano Chango said she had taken over running of the Ecuadorian restaurant in Maldonado Walk from her aunt, who witnessed her son Ian Gualavisi, 23, get stabbed to death there weeks before Christmas in December 2021.

She said: “My auntie has obviously gone through a bad stage after she lost her son so I’m taking over the restaurant now.

“I would like to get permission to have the licence because recently we have been losing customers. As tradition, we South Americans, Ecuadorians, when we have food, seafood or anything we have to have a beer or wine to go with our meal.

“Since we haven’t had the licence we have lost customers and they prefer to go to the other shops to have their meal with their drink. We don’t want the licence for clubbing or any noise inside. It’s a family restaurant. We have kids inside.”

The eatery had its licence stripped by the council months before Mr Gualavisi’s murder in December 2021, after police found him near the restaurant with head injuries and a possible machete wound to his back.

Rincon Costeno was locked up when officers arrived, but upon being let inside the eatery they found a significant amount of blood, tables and chairs turned over and glass smashed over the floor.

At the time police said they believed there had been a ‘deliberate’ attempt to cover up the fact that a serious crime had taken place at the premises. Council licensing conditions already banned Mr Gualavisi from Rincon Costeno, following his involvement in an armed fight inside the restaurant in 2018.

Ms Solorzano Chango initially told councillors at the licensing meeting that she had no connection to the restaurant’s previous operators. But after further questioning by Cllr Renata Hamvas, Labour member for Peckham Rye, she admitted that Ian Gualavisi was her cousin.

Ms Solorzano Chango added that she ran Rincon Costeno herself but received help with food shopping from Mr Gualavisi’s parents.

Councillors adjourned the meeting to a date in June in light of the details about Ms Solorzano Chango’s relationship to the restaurant’s previous bosses. Councillor Renata Hamvas, chairwoman of the licensing sub-committee, said the Met, the council’s licensing team and trading standards would be informed of the new information.

Pictured top: The Rincon Costeno at Maldonado Walk (Picture: Google Street View)

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https://londonnewsonline.co.uk/news/ecuadorian-restaurants-licence-appeal-clouded-by-its-shocking-past/

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