North End restaurateurs still have beef – or bolognese – with city’s ‘unconstitutional’ $7,500 outdoor dining fee as four Italian restaurateurs file $1.5million lawsuit against Mayor Michelle Wu on Monday.
The city, for the first time this year, imposed a fee of just $7,500 on the North End in response to local residents complaining about noise and crowding from outdoor dining. As a result, a group of restaurateurs began protesting the mayor and promising this lawsuit against her.
The owners of the four restaurants pay all “unconstitutional” outdoor dining fees “subject” to compete with other dining venues, they wrote in the U.S. District Court lawsuit.
Last month, the restaurant’s owners warned Wu that they would sue for $1.5 million if she did not reverse the North End charges. Now the owners are seeking $1 million in punitive damages and $500,000 in compensatory damages.
“A declaration that the plaintiffs’ constitutional rights have been violated and an order requiring appropriate and equitable relief,” their attorney wrote in the lawsuit.
The restaurateurs own the Vinoteca di Monica, the Terramia Ristorante and the Antico Forno, the Dolce Fumo de Rabia and the Trattoria de Monica. Jorge Mendoza owns Vinoteca di Monica, and last week he ran at the last minute for a city council seat in the special election – which was won by Gabriela “Gigi” Coletta, a resident of EastBoston. Mendoza said he will race against Wu next.
After the mayor initially announced the fee and the city received feedback from some owners, she said the city would allow “hardship waivers” based on restaurant size and location in the neighborhood, which could reduce fees by a few thousand dollars for some. Restaurants.
Wu disclosed this at a press conference with pro-administration North End restaurant owners. But anti-Wu restaurant owners were unhappy with the closed-door press conference, again promising legal action and saying the changes were not welcome.
A spokesperson for the city of Boston wrote in an email Monday evening: “We will decline to comment given the litigation.