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Board shuts North End restaurant whose owner is charged with trying to murder somebody

The Boston Licensing Board this morning voted unanimously to suspend Monica's Trattoria on Prince Street until it can hold a hearing on a proposed new manager.

Owner Patrick Mendoza turned himself in last week on charges of taking at least one shot at somebody with whom he'd long feuded outside Modern Pastry.

Mendoza's family - his wife, son and two brothers - have filed an application to have an assistant manager to take over, and are currently working to change the ownership of the restaurant to remove Mendoza as an owner.

Monica's attorney, William Ferullo, asked for leniency, to let the assistant manager continue running the restaurant, so that the restaurant can remain open and employing its workers. He said restaurants are often run by assistant managers when the official designated managers are out due to sickness, vacations or just quitting.

The board vote came after a hearing last week at which Mendoza did not appear - because he was in a substance-abuse center on the Cape. Failure to appear before the licensing board is itself a reason for board action.

Board members said Mendoza was not out sick or on vacation but was, in fact, on the run from the law - even if that run ended at a treatment facility in Falmouth, and that in a tightly regulated industry such as liquor-serving restaurants, they need to know who is in charges.

In addition to missing last Thursday's hearing, Monica's Trattoria was also cited by police on Thursday night for not having an approved manager on duty.

Ferullo said police issued the citation after the restaurant itself called 911 to request help with a reporter whom Ferullo said was trying to get a look at the restaurant's licenses even after staff asked him to stop. Restaurant licenses are supposed to be placed in a public location in a restaurant.

Ferullo said Amanda McQueen, who would take over as manager, has worked at Monica's for six years and was essentially second in command when Mendoza went on the run.

He said Monica's Trattoria has been open for 20 years with no problems and that McQueen - and Mendoza's two brothers, who also own North End restaurants - have filled in for him before. "The family been doing this for 20 years,""The said, referring to Mendoza's brother. They can cook, they can wait tables, they can put in orders."

"This is a long-term business that employs many people," he added. The restaurant has been busy over the last ten days and we would like to continue that operation" and keep those people employed, he said.

He also questioned why the board was able to hold a public hearing on Thursday less than 48 hours after it posted a notice for it when it refused to hear the request to make McQueen the official manager with even more time - he submitted the paperwork on Friday.

"A change of manager is a very important position in this heavily regulated industry," and staff needs more time to review her "character and fitness" to be a manager, board Chairwoman Kathleen Joyce said. She said the board will work with Ferullo to expedite a hearing, but that she simply did not feel comfortable letting the restaurant remain open with its current paperwork. "I have serious concerns about a person who is still listed as manager of record and 100% owner" especially given the charges facing him, she said.

"For more than a week, we had no idea who was in control of Monica's," she added.

Board member Keeana Saxon agreed, adding she was worried that letting a restaurant remain open with a listed owner and manager charged with attempted murder who was missing for ten days would mean "a slippery slope."

Monica's Trattoria can appeal the board's decision to the state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission.

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Comments

Glad there are some adults in the room.

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Amanda McQueen is Patrick Mendoza's wife

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They are married, too!

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...they copied from an early version of a story on my blog. I misunderstood the Mendoza's attorney in the first version of my story - it sounded like he said McQueen was Mendoza's wife, but when I listened again, it was clear that he was talking about two different people.

I'm the only one who reported that (incorrect information) and I corrected it when my wife pointed out my mistake actually.

It makes you realize how unreliable the sources of the news we consume are.

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The hearing was on the restaurant's license as a common victualler with an alcohol license.

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The Herald reports "the Boston Police Fugitive Unit, assisted by the Falmouth PD, arrested him at an address."

Turning himself in would've been a smart move, but it sounds like this bozo waited to be captured.

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a Cape Cod rehab facility.

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So, it appears that a reporter shows up looking to see the license, which the law requires the restaurant to keep posted in a public place, and the restaurant gives him a hard time and tries to eject him from the premises?

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1) They didn't get cited for not having their licenses publicly displayed, so I'm guessing they are.
2) Why couldn't the reporter see them and leave? Why were they obstructing any of that instead of getting the reporter what they wanted and getting them gone without much noise?
3) Then they decide he's trespassing and they want the cops to get rid of him...but the cops show up and ask who the manager on duty is and...there isn't one.
4) So they get a ticket for that...while in the midst of explaining how great they can run the place without Mendoza around.

I mean...just shut it down permanently already. It was a clown show with Mendoza around by all accounts and it's a clown show without him around.

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Who doesn't even know that the law requires public display of licenses.

That totally inspires confidence in her competency. /s

Makes me wonder what other legal requirements they think they are too special to bother with ... things like labor laws, health codes, paperwork for employees being legal to work, not having an extra set of books for the taxes ...

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Minor note. The article says treatment facility in Yarmouth, but it was Gosnold Treatment Center in Falmouth.

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Fixed.

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Los Amigos says, "While you are reviewing this place in detail, check the temperature of every item of food, and make sure there isn't one rodent dropping anywhere."

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If they can find another manager that can do the job of running the restaurant, that seems separable from whether the old manager is going to jail for something *not* related to the restaurant.

Calling 911 on the reporter, though... definitely time for an inspection and a look at the books! Chances are there's something hinky going on that *would* directly call for a closure.

Lacking that, though? It seems separable.

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