CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — Outdoor dining at three Pawtuxet Village restaurants may be significantly scaled back over a dispute with the building’s landlord.
Revolution American Bistro, Fellini Pizzeria and Bagel Express and Deli have been utilizing an adjacent parking lot since outdoor dining was expanded during the pandemic through the governor’s “Take it Outside” initiative.
“Our team works hard out there,” Revolution American Bistro owner Dean Scanlon said. “We’ve got people expecting to come back and work and have those shifts. We are talking about people’s livelihoods.”
Scanlon told 12 News there were plans to make the parking lot a permanent location for outdoor dining, so the landlord’s decision came as a surprise.
“There is a lot of stuff out there and it’s a lot of money, and to just see it thrown away for someone’s fickle position is not something we want to see happen,” Scanlon added.
Employees said closing the outdoor dining area will be a major blow for business and their patrons.
“More than even just a revenue source for the building, it’s really become the heart of the village,” said Kerri Ayers-Kelleher, a bartender at Revolution American Bistro.
Steve Conti, an attorney for the landlord, said making the parking lot a permanent space for outdoor dining would cost thousands of dollars due to the upgrades it would need.
“Since the owner also owns an additional four units next door which need parking, they decided in fairness to all of the tenants that the lot must revert to parking spaces,” Conti explained in a statement. “Even when the parking lot is removed from the outdoor dining, these tenants will still have outdoor dining as they did during COVID and prior to the parking lot being used for outside dining.”
This dispute comes days after a new law went into effect extending outdoor dining until 2024.