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North End restaurant owners upset by last year's outdoor-dining fee now claim Mayor Wu hates white, Italian men

The owners of several North End restaurants have amended their lawsuit over the fees Boston charged North End restaurants to set up tables on sidewalks and in parking spaces last year to add a new charge: That Mayor Wu imposed the fees only in the North End because of her hatred of white, Italian men.

In the latest version of their suit, filed today in Boston federal court, the owners of Vinoteca di Monica, Monica's Trattoria, Antico Forno, Terramia Ristorante and Rabia's Dolce Fumo present what they claim is irrefutable proof: A joke Wu told at last year's St. Patrick's Day breakfast in South Boston and her promotion of a Boston tourism campaign aimed at Black and brown people.

On March 17, 2022, Defendant attended a St. Patrick's Day breakfast in South Boston, at which function she made a speech and specifically stated "I'm getting used to dealing with problems that are expensive, disruptive and WHITE."

It is commonly known that the traditional owner of a restaurant in the North End of Boston is a white male of Italian descent, and the North End is generally regarded as the last true ethnic Boston Italian neighborhood.

Judge Indira Talwani, who is overseeing the case, got her BA at Harvard and has been a judge in the federal courthouse in South Boston since 2013, so she might be aware of the nature of the St. Patrick's Day breakfast as a place for politicians to tell bad jokes that most people forget by the next day. Also, two of the plaintiffs are not white, Italian men, but women, and three have last names not traditionally thought of as Italian.

But even aside from that, the restaurant owners say more proof of the mayor's alleged visceral hatred of white, Italian men comes in the city's current $1.5-million All Inclusive Boston campaign, aimed in large part at convincing minority residents of other areas that Boston is actually a fun multi-culti place to visit, rather than the racist hive many people still think it is.

Wu, they allege, committed such affronts as ensuring "the overwhelming majority of the marketing, promotion and contractors were women and/or minorities" - including, if it can be believed, giving a contract to Black woman in public relations who publicly announced the goal of "driving visitors and residents alike to visit some of the traditionally under visited small businesses in neighborhoods like Roxbury, Chinatown, Dorchester, the South End, and more."

Worse, one video produced for the program doesn't show a single white guy, save for a three-second blip of Red Sox players, and certainly no white, Italian men, the complaint alleges.

The complaint alleges that the Neighborhoods page on the All Inclusive Web site completely omits the North End, although the page, at least as of today, does have a link to a North End page that even lists two of the restaurants involved in the suit as places to eat in the neighborhood.

In addition to playing the racism card, the new complaint also swaps in a couple of new plaintiffs. Gone is Christian Silvestri, originally listed as the owner of Rabia's Dolce Fumo on Salem Street. Instead, the suit now lists Jason and Kim Silvestri as Rabia's owners.

Much of the rest of the complaint is a recap of their initial complaint, in which the restaurant owner allege their due-process and equal-protection rights were violated by being forced to pay $7,500 for the 2022 outdoor dining season when restaurant owners in the rest of the city did not, and by being excluded from a meeting about the fees, which Wu claims were aimed at paying for the unique costs of letting private restaurants take over parts of public sidewalks and streets in the the densely packed, restaurant-heavy North End: Increased trash and rodent and police issues and the loss of parking spaces used by residents.

They also continue to argue they are owed $1.5 million each in damages.

In October, Talwani told the restaurant owners - the Silvestris, Carla Gomes, Jorge Mendoza and Patrick Mendoza - she was inclined to dismiss the case completely, after city attorneys argued the restaurant owners had no legal "standing" to bring the case, in part because any alleged damage the city did was to the corporations that own the restaurants but the suit was brought in the name of the individuals who own them, in part because Boston had "a legitimate government interest" in treating the North End differently than other neighborhoods. However, she gave them additional time to file an amended complaint

In a filing arguing why the case should be dismissed, city attorneys wrote:

It is reasonably conceivable that the collective impacts of temporary license expansion in the North End poses a significant quality of life burden in the form of aggregate noise, trash, traffic, difficulty of pedestrians navigating sidewalks, and parking loss that is different in magnitude and kind than experienced in other neighborhoods. In light of such a "reasonably conceivable state of facts," the City could have rationally chosen to regulate restaurants seeking to expand into the public right of way in the North End differently than it regulated restaurants in other areas that did not pose the same collective impacts on quality of life. Making the regulations address the direct residential parking impacts and charging a fee to permit the government to provide additional services to ameliorate the impact that on-street dining in the North End has is rationally related to the City's interest in ensuring that the expansion of private businesses onto the public right of way does not overwhelm the quality of life in any neighborhood.

Two of the restaurant owners - Gomes and Jorge Mendoza - were also plaintiffs in a suit against Boston over its three-month requirement that people show proof of vaccination to enter most indoor public spaces. In January, another federal judge dismissed that case in which Gomes, Mendoza and other plaintiffs sought $6 million apiece in damages.

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Comments

*twits fingers*

See this buddy? Know what this is? Yeah its the world's smallest violin and its playing your song.

GTFOH with this racist card crap. What a card to play.

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Exactly. I won't be shedding a tear for these white, Italian, anti-vaxx Trump supporters and neither should anyone else.

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These restaurant owners are good at taking government taxpayer’s money,, first with covid19 pandemic government funds now they want to take tax money from hard working city of Boston residents, like they don’t have enough of it now . Kind of scummy …

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These guys are precious little snowflakes who apparently got their fragile feelings hurt by the harsh bullying of the mayor LOL.

They couldn't handle a little lighthearted locker room talk on a fun holiday??

And now they want a FREE government handout in the form of expanding their business onto public property that they do not own.

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It’s the residents of the North End who decided not to have outdoor dining, how would you feel if you had outdoor dining every night outside your Ocean front Marblehead mansion or outside your Revere , Lynnfield, Canton or New Hampshire Mansion each and every night during the summer months. Why would any resident put up with it, these people have to get up in the morning and go to work, and sleep without any interruptions .

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Most notably, Moody Street in Waltham closes for at least six months each year so that it can accommodate outdoor dining. That's a major street through a busy downtown. It seems to work well there, so why not in the North End too?

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Ron Newman, the North End is not comparable to Waltham in any way. It is a fraction of the size and has a much denser concentration of restaurants. Also, Waltham is not on the Freedom Trail with its millions of visitors every year. Waltham seemed like a nice city the last time I was there but I've never heard of it being a major tourist destination. I seriously doubt they get the hordes of visitors who frequent Hanover Street. You don't live in the North End - why is it so important to you to cram this down the throats of the people who do live there? Do you believe that Italian restaurant owners really are discriminated against?

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Moody St restaurateurs aren't going down to the Mile to hand out sandwiches to the fiends just to piss off the Mayor, now are they?

Fuck them.

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Moody street is one (nearly universal commercial) street which gets closed, with a much better network of streets around it.

closing the streets of the north end, which are mixed use, and have terrible second streets around them, is insane.

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Here’s a proposal , why not install numerous large tents at Columbus park , and all the restaurants can have out door dining and have Uber eats or food runners deliver the food from one restaurant to the outdoor setting at Columbus park.

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Than at Kelly's on Revere Beach

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I can state from my own knowledge and experience that Italian-Americans are among the most loyal, most law-abiding, patriotic, hard working American citizens in this land. And it would be a shame if we allowed a few rotten apples to give a bad name to the whole barrel. Because from the time of the great Christopher Columbus up through the time of Enrico Fermi right up until the present day, Italian-Americans have been pioneers in building and defending our great nation. They are the salt of the earth, and they're one of the backbones of this country.

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Questa e' piu' evidenza che anti-italianismo e' tornando.

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in this country ever going to catch a break?

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Italian-Americans are new to the White grievance grift. They weren't even considered White until around 1965.
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/10/12/opinion/columbus-day-ital...
Calling Mayor Wu a racist surely isn't helping their cause any.

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That's a ways back. They were an integral part of the Southern strategy, and there are (at least) two generations born since that happened, so...

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So "new" as in not ancient history.

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?

Seriously!!

They made a commercial and it said to go see some neighborhoods that aren’t white. I mean what the hell is this?

Everyone the world over knows there is no place harder and harsher place to be a middle aged white man than in your multi-million dollar restaurant in the shadow of Downtown Boston.

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This suit was was totally ridiculous before but they’ve found a way to really push the envelope. It would be funny if their claims weren’t such a racist laden pile of crap.

Our local e-mail hero can rest easy tonight knowing this crew has vaulted into the lead of crazy lawsuits.

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not enough N. End restaurateurs joined in. Without a majority, they're not going to have the political pressure they want.

Not surprising they made the allegations in an equal protection complaint.

Best suggestion was by BostonDog, who said the restaurants should charge a small fee for outdoor dining.

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A good number of them don't live here nor do they vote here.

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Yes but they have leverage because if they pull their operations out of the North End someone else will have to figure out how to sell Sysco canned red sauce to tourists at a healthy markup.

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Great comment, xyz - so true! I'm always tempted to take pictures of all the Sysco trucks making their deliveries in the neighborhood but would probably get a brick through my window if I did so.

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.

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Carla Gomes (of Canton)
Jorge Mendoza (of failed city council bid fame)

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Worse, one video produced for the program doesn't show a single white guy, save for a three-second blip of Red Sox players, and certainly no white, Italian men, the complaint alleges.

When you accidentally describe popular media for the last hundred years for non-white folks...

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Any of these whiners live in the North End? (Hint: Florida is not in the North End.)

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you aren't racist, guys.

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The annual Saint Patrick's day breakfast is one bad joke after another. Get ready for the best joke on Saint Patrick's day " The T is safe and the trains are on time."

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and the people bringing it are ridiculous.

im on a fence about someone as important to the community as a Mayor using a racial epithet. I'm sure I can't impress upon you people how versed I am, through my own inquiry, in disgust at white privileged antics. And I know, a Mayor like Wu is going to have to fire off at least one to two racist remarks to chasten a problem white people have. It's ugly but leadership sometimes has to be ugly--fucking especially when Americans are uglier than they have ever been, despite abundant false piety on basically everything.

Nevertheless, if you can be assured in your mind that the plummeting of official discourse to race-baiting depths is ALWAYS APPROPRIATE then I guess you are just one of the
" 'tard words," aren't you? Perhaps 'dotard'......perhaps another

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These restaurant owners had SO much goodwill shown their way throughout the pandemic. Customers, including their residential neighbors, bent over backwards to try and do what they could to keep them afloat during their worst days. Now they’re turning the residents’ valid dislike of the problems outdoor dining brought to their tiny streets into an imagined racial slight. They have shown zero interest in how the people who actually live there feel, and their own criticisms of the Mayor have been tinged with slurs since the beginning. I’ll always remember the screaming these owners did in the faces of the poor young City staff members assigned to deal with them and won’t be dining at their establishments going forward. There are plenty of North End restaurant owners who handled this entire situation reasonably, and they’ll be getting my admittedly meager pennies going forward. The screamers have shown nothing but disdain for the neighborhood in which they make their money. Screw them.

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Outdoor seating was a crutch to help these restaurants avoid closing because of the regulations put in place to prevent indoor transmission of COVID that the North End restauranteurs fought more than any other.

They violated the law and stuffed people inside when told they can't.

Then outdoor seating is allowed and creates new problems but let's them keep their numbers up.

Now, they have to go back to the way it was before COVID and they're complaining they have to go back inside!

I've seen cats be more decisive at a screen door.

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They want to make money from the extra tables on the street and not have to pay rent for it, even if that rent is a tiny fraction of what they'd pay if they expended indoors.

They wanted to make money operating in the pandemic while other restaurants had to stay closed for valid health reasons.

They hope the city will settle this lawsuit so they can get even more cash.

If they seem indecisive it's only because they'll shift their position to whatever side they think will be the most profitable to the owners. Staff, patrons, and local residents be damned.

If the city charged all restaurants the same fee for outdoor dining, these jokers would still be going after Wu and claiming they should get their gutter shacks for free.

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Maybe the city should make a counter-offer: any of the plaintiff restaurants who violated covid rules loses their liquor license and health/safety certification, effective immediately, and their lawyers face a vexation litigation charge.

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The majority of people in Boston aren't "white, Italian men," because a lot of the white people in Boston aren't Italian-American, their ancestors came from Ireland or Poland or Scotland or Russia or Quebec or... Per Wikipedia, less than five percent of the residents of Boston are "white, Italian men."

If the city had made advertising videos each of which included exactly two Black people, two Italians, two Irish people, two Jews, two Indigenous people, two Dominicans, two French Canadians, two Cape Verdeans, and two of every other group who live in Boston, people would have made fun of that.

"They didn't pay enough attention to my precious feelings" isn't grounds for a lawsuit.

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Two of every type, we call that pulling a Noah's Ark

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two Black people, two Italians, two Irish people, two Jews, two Indigenous people, two Dominicans, two French Canadians, two Cape Verdeans, and two of every other group who live in Boston

...all walk into a bar, thus beginning the setup for one of history's most elaborate jokes.

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Message received, loud and clear! They don't want me ever to visit their restaurants, ever, for the rest of my life, and they do want me to actively discourage everyone I know from doing so. Happy to oblige!

They also apparently don't want anybody to take them seriously, so I won't. Jokers.

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I feel bad for the north end residents and businesses. They’re being so poorly represented by this very vocal minority.

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Whether and how to have outdoor seating is a problem that, with some good-faith discussion, could have been resolved to most everyone's satisfaction and benefit. Now that this group has filed this laughable and insulting lawsuit, good luck getting anyone in a room to talk this through.

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As an American of full Italian ancestry, I am embarrassed that any Italian American would claim racism. Especially in the context of this story. Maybe 100 years ago but these days, not so much.

The North End being “…the last true Boston Italian neighborhood.” was also last accurate damn near 100 years ago. Take a look at the names on the mailboxes or intercom buttons at the apt buildings as you walk down the street. They are all-American surnames, not specific to any ethnicity —as is the case with most any neighborhood that WAS ethnic a full century ago. The descendants have moved on, and so should these crybabies claiming they are oppressed for being Italian.

If these people want to identify with their ancestry, great! Lose the pinky ring, remove your hand from your crotch and learn some of the true culture and language other than some phrases you heard on The Sopranos.

As for restaurants, I make an effort to support the North End establishments when I’m in the area. Some of them are really good. But reading stories like this makes me wonder why I bother.

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Man, it's going to be awkward when they meet her husband.

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What is particularly hilarious about the claim that Wu hates white Italians or the North End, is that it was white Italians living in the North End who lobbied Wu to cut back on sidewalk dining; it was in response to the complaints of these white Italian North End residents that she imposed the restrictions.

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What's most annoying about all this is the free publicity the Globe and Herald keep giving this tiny gang of clowns. I assume they've hired a PR firm to ensure every insane word they utter ends up on the front pages.

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They were alerted to the suit by this story - it's not like anybody else is spending way too much time (or any time at all, actually) browsing the local federal court docket. Normally, though, MSM just ignores the stuff I find there - think of all the stories I wrote about The Man with Four MIT Degrees who Invented Email and Don't You Dare Forget It that never got picked up anywhere else.

And even still, I don't write about every single thing they do. Like, I completely missed their amended complaint when they first tried to file it a few months ago, which is too bad, because it was even more racist than the one they finally filed this week, and I think stuff like that is newsworthy.

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