Incahoots owner defends restaurant

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 15, 2002

The owner of Incahoots restaurant in Helena has a petition signed by over 500 patrons and local residents supporting his business which has recently drawn criticism from a handful of neighbors.

Harold Deason, owner of the restaurant which sits next to Buck Creek in Old Town Helena, said he has been overwhelmed by the support he has received since local resident Karen Schwelling publicly criticized the restaurant at the last Helena City Council meeting on May 6.

Schwelling and a few other residential neighbors of Incahoots called the restaurant a public nuisance.

They complained of public intoxication and loud Karoke.

Schwelling asked that outdoor Karoke be banned in the city. She also asked that drinking problems be addressed.

Mayor Sonny Penhale and Police Chief Mark Hall said no laws were violated by the business.

Deason, who was at the meeting but chose not to speak, said late last week that his business is getting a bad rap.

&uot;This is a family restaurant.

&uot;In over 30 years I have never had any alcohol-related problems,&uot; Deason said. &uot;This lady (Schwelling) is just on a crusade against us. I have to defend myself.&uot;

Deason noted he has never received a complaint from the Alcohol and Beverage Control Board.

Deason said he has long been a supporter of the community of Helena and was not a negative influence on Helena’s reputation as a tourist attraction as Schwelling had said.

&uot;When the Civil War reenactors were in town, I did over $12,000 worth of business that Saturday. That is not from people who don’t like my business,&uot; Deason said.

Shannon Scott, one of Deason’s customers and the owner of the nearby business, Infusion Technology, signed the petition supporting Incahoots.

&uot;The majority of the people here are families with kids,&uot; Scott said of the restaurant’s patrons.

&uot;I, and others (neighboring business owners), tend to work late and on weekends sometimes. I can barely hear the noise. It’s a family atmosphere.&uot;