Hey, there! Log in / Register

Four North End restaurant owners make federal case out of outdoor dining fee, but say $1.5 million each would make them whole

Four North End restaurant owners say the $7,500 fee they had to pay to extend their restaurants to the public sidewalk is just horribly unfair and so they filed a federal lawsuit against the city today.

Jorge Mendoza, owner of Vinoteca di Monica on Richmond Street, Patrick Mendoza, owner of Monica's Trattoria on Prince Street, Carlo Gomes, owner of Antico Forno and Terramia Ristorante, both on Salem Street, and Christian Silvestri, owner of Rabia's Dolce Fumo on Salem Street, allege the fee, which applies to many but not all restaurants in the North End, violates their constitutional rights to due process and equal protection as well as their rights under the commerce clause.

Jorge Mendoza and Gomes are also parties to a separate suit over Boston's now canceled indoor masking requirements, in which they are claiming they need to be paid $6 million for the alleged harm that did to them.

Both lawsuits were filed by Lynnfield attorney Richard Chambers in US District Court in Boston.

In today's suit, first reported by NBC Boston, the four allege that the city never even consulted with them before levying the general fee - plus a small fee for the use of parking spaces - although they do acknowledge the city did form a committee of other North End restaurant owners, but that even in those meetings, city officials never mentioned fees.

The program is a continuation of one started in 2020 to help restaurants survive the pandemic; this year, the city said that, unlike in other neighborhoods, North End restaurants were charged $7,500 for the season plus a fee for the parking spaces to pay for the extra cleanup and policing requirements they say come from the unique configuration of the city's most restaurant-dense neighborhood.

The four restaurant owners acknowledge they paid the $7,500 fee, but only because not doing so would put them at a competitive disadvantage with other North End restaurants - some of whose owners appeared at a city press conference to support the fee idea.

Neighborhoods: 
Topics: 
AttachmentSize
PDF icon Complete complaint248.05 KB

Ad:
Like the job UHub is doing? Consider a contribution. Thanks!

Comments

says you can call me Dick.

up
Voting closed 39

I don’t see how anybody has the right to use the public sidewalk for a restaurant free of charge. But seeing that these guys want to seize $6,000,000 of my tax money, I think I’ll be dining elsewhere.

up
Voting closed 211

Exactly. I'm so sick of these out-of-town North End restaurant owners being a giant pain in the ass. They violated almost every covid rule and now they want millions in our tax money...just because?

Screw these guys. I hope they get weekly restaurant inspections from now on.

up
Voting closed 137

You do realize that some of them actually still live in the North End, correct?

up
Voting closed 29

I seem to recall Rabia's getting fined for ignoring the mask and occupancy rules. What a coincidence.

up
Voting closed 101

They got a one-day suspension after the second time they were cited for violating emergency Covid-19 regulations (the first time, they got a stern warning).

up
Voting closed 68

So much noise from these owners and they are paying a higher fees to the attorneys to represent them, as well as the $7,500 to the City. Please ask the to make public how much revenue will the alfresco dining will bring to their business. Don’t eat at their locations. The city is doing the neighborhood a favor.

up
Voting closed 130

Wasn't even a thing before COVID / this is still a residential neighborhood. Cut it out entirely - citywide.

up
Voting closed 68

so we will continue not having fun

honestly a motto for Boston

up
Voting closed 74

for restaurants and good for neighborhoods.

But these owners are just being abusive pricks.

up
Voting closed 98

but I went to multiple places to dine outdoors in the city for years before Covid.

up
Voting closed 55

The four restaurant owners acknowledge they paid the $7,500 fee, but only because not doing so would put them at a competitive disadvantage with other North End restaurants

Yes such a disadvantage ...

you know other places were more than happy to pay the fees. You didn't have to pay the fees... oh right because the money you would have lost from not having outdoor dining when your competitors do, would have exceed the 7500 bucks you paid.

So now you're gonna pay some lawyer to sue thats gonna cost a whole lot more than 7500 dollars in a case you might win or you might not win. And if you lose, you're out a ton of money (imho, they will).

Smart business move /snark

You know if you don't like what Boston is doing... you could like move. I am sure some other city or town would love a 'north end dining experience' in their town that has plenty of parking.

up
Voting closed 71

It's disgusting..... these so-called plaintiffs collectively received over a million dollars of PPP loans, hense, applied for forgiveness, and don't have to pay a penny back... Mayor Wu end outside dining ASAP!

up
Voting closed 26

I was wondering which restaurants I would never ever eat at.

Also, you don't want to pay the $7500...but you'll hire lawyer(s) to go after $6M. Go fuck yourselves.

up
Voting closed 120

Or are they 80% tourists?

I don’t know a single local (including the suburbs) who goes to the North End for dining but maybe that’s just me.

up
Voting closed 35

My wife and I dine at the North End all the time. All of our friends and family do too. Nothing like a chicken parm dinner with an espresso martini at the end of the meal.

If you’re looking for the best espresso martini in Boston, Bricco is the place.

up
Voting closed 38

sounds like a drink accidentally invented by a busboy.

up
Voting closed 59

I guess my social circle just doesn’t like traveling that far for Italian. (We don’t need to go far in Medford.)

up
Voting closed 30

I saw Brad Marchand at Monica's during COVID (no mask).

up
Voting closed 23

I mean, I'll go and grab an Italian from Monica's from time to time. I love baked pasta so Antico Forno was nice. But I don't need either of those spots in my life. I'll certainly be spending my money elsewhere.

up
Voting closed 40

You don't need a little bit of Monica in your life?

up
Voting closed 39

Places I like to return to in the North End to eat:
Neptune Oyster, Caffe Vittoria for gelato/coffee, Prezza, Quattro, and of course Bova's.

There have been other good places along the way.

up
Voting closed 30

you're missing out is all I gotta say.

up
Voting closed 30

Daily Catch is still our go-to for birthdays and impressing guests, with Bova's for dessert.

Happy to never give a cent to these whiners who think they have a right to public space and services for private gain for free.

up
Voting closed 21

Overpriced slop. Add that to restaurants owned by vocally racist jerks & I haven’t eaten in North End for years.

Look up their social media & political donations. Mendoza was retweeted by Trump, Gomez went to his inauguration. Giuliani was routinely invited to North End by restaurant owners.

All of the restaurant owners from Bricco, Il Panino, Monica’s, Rabia’s, Quarto, Terramia, Antico Forno…It’s not just that they’re republicans, but they’re routinely on RW radio & social media being truly awful. Would never give any of them a dime. Only exception where you’ll find good food, responsible owners & locals is Neptune. That’s why there’s always a line a mile long.

up
Voting closed 27

As an Eastie resident, I dine in the North End and do a lot of my shopping there. I frequent Sulmona's butcher shop, Alba's vegetable store, Cirace's for wine and dine at Mamma Maria in North Square.

I understand the frustration of these guys, but honestly...I'd prefer to just do away with outside dining permits altogether. I'm fine if you have a square where you're not impeding on the walkway or parking spaces. It's impossible to park in a lot of neighborhoods of Boston, it was a nice thing to have when occupancy restrictions existed due to covid, but now that things are 100%....let's end this mess. I fully support a fair system with the same regulations across all the neighborhoods, remove it all in my book.

up
Voting closed 27

that these idiots have laid their bullshit bare for all to see. it was never about freedoms, or unions, or whatever excuse they thought of on a given day.

up
Voting closed 77

Is there any way they can all lose?

up
Voting closed 43

These restaurants had so much good will coming their way for so long. Everyone felt for them during the pandemic and rallied fo support them as much as they could while their own wallets were hurting. They grabbed take out, they bought gift cards for future use, and they ate outside on a makeshift street patio when the City made special allowances as a temporary way to keep them afloat.

The City gave them an inch and they’ve grabbed two miles. They’re ignoring the pleas of the people who actually live there to rein in the noise that has moved to tables outside their windows. They’ve accused the City of targeting the neighborhood because of its ethnicity. They have been disrespectful to elected officials that are trying to work with them and have screamed in the faces of their staff. The pandemic is essentially over, and so are pandemic rules. Back indoors with ya if you’re not willing to take what has been generously offered. Ciao.

up
Voting closed 65

so there are plenty of reasons people may prefer to eat outside.

If there weren't a fire station on Hanover Street, the right solution would be to close the whole street to traffic, at least from April through November, and devote it entirely to restaurant patios.

up
Voting closed 35

He burns that on tanning beds and Acqua di Gio every month.

up
Voting closed 53

Anyone else see the noon time news a week or two ago where one restaurant owner kind of chuckled over the whole thing and said he didn't agree with the fees but that they'd make it back in one weekend... :-) there you go.

up
Voting closed 25