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'This is a form of discrimination,' North End restaurant owners sue city over outdoor dining

North End restaurant owners sue city over outdoor dining
North End restaurant owners sue city over outdoor dining 02:06

BOSTON - Tensions were boiling over in Boston's North End after Mayor Michelle Wu announced the neighborhood won't be joining the rest of the city in outdoor dining this summer.

"It's unfair," Monica's Trattoria owner Frank Mendoza said. "It's insane. I cannot believe what they're doing."

Monica's Trattoria owner Frank Mendoza says the city's policy regarding outdoor dining in the North End is unfair. CBS Boston

His brother George added, "This is a form of discrimination."

The Mendoza family is joining several other North End restaurant owners in a new lawsuit against the city, the same tactic used last year when Mayor Wu required restaurants to pay a fee to extend dining onto Hanover Street.

"It was an option, pay or don't have it," their attorney Richard Chambers told WBZ-TV. "This year, it's just the North End - you can't have it at all. Everyone else can have it. You can't have it even if you pay. I think that's wrong."

Mayor Wu hasn't spoken publicly about her decision, but in a press release, she blamed the lack of parking, sanitation issues and noise complaints by neighbors.

Last year, North End restaurant owners paid a fee to have outdoor dining. CBS Boston


"Last year, we paid the fee, and we didn't see any street cleaning, didn't see added police presence," Rich Ansara, owner of Tresca, said. "We don't know where the money went."

Despite the city's resistance, Ansara said he's willing to pay the fee again, hoping the mayor will change her mind.

"You got to think of the employees, too. How many employees - could we have added jobs and how many people we're going to lose."

Outdoor dining throughout the rest of Boston will begin May 1 and last through November, weather permitting. 

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