Restaurant owner sues City of Memphis over dance permit - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Restaurant owner sues City of Memphis over dance permit

By Nick Kenney - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - A strip club owner is suing the City of Memphis over a dance permit for a controversial Cordova restaurant.

Stella Marris was closed for renovations Wednesday, but it was still open to controversy.  Despite concerns that the restaurant is going to be a strip club, owner Steve Cooper maintains it is a restaurant and lounge.

On February 3, 2011, Cooper filed an application for a dance hall permit.  When asked if it will feature adult entertainment, Cooper answered, "this depends on the definition of adult entertainment."

Cooper elaborated by comparing Stella Marris plans to what Coyote Ugly already is, where staff and patrons dance on bar tops.

Stella Marris also plans to add live bands.

From the beginning, Brian Stevens and other neighbors have been opposed to the project.

"Well here we go," said Stevens.  "This is what we predicted all along."

Stella Marris filed a lawsuit against the city, claiming that it did not grant or deny the compensated dancer permit within 10 days, as required by law.

Cooper, a longtime strip club operator, asked a judge to order the permit to be issued immediately.  So far the city has not filed a written response.

The Stella Marris website said it will reopen in late September or early October.

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