Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Pizzeria's Trike Has Code Enforcement Irked


When Angela Badolato took over the pizza parlor on Main Street in April, formerly Michelangelo’s, she changed just about everything including the menu, the building façade and the sign.

“Everyone has said they love it,” she said.

For the most part, she said her transition to owner/operator of Auntie A’s has gone well. That is until she parked a delivery trike painted black with the Auntie A logo and phone number at the Northport Village waterfront daily over the summer.

She has received several summonses from Northport Village Code Compliance Officer Bud Rudloff and was told she could not leave the trike parked at the waterfront.

“Her phone number is on the bike,” Mr. Rudloff said. “She is using a public space to blatantly advertise her business. She can’t leave it there. It’s a violation. My office is complaint-driven. If it’s a blatant violation, I will act.”

“Who would think I need a permit to have a bike?” Ms. Badolato asked, displaying the feisty manner that led her to call herself the Angry Chef, a sobriquet that’s also painted on the offending trike with the words ‘Get out of my way.’ “We have a horse going up and down Main Street, and I can’t have a bike? I asked if I could park it in a metered spot. I was told no. I asked if I could park it in the parking lot. I was told no. I was shocked. Now I have people from Village Hall screaming at my employees even if they’re just making a delivery on the bike.”
Ms. Badolato is hard-pressed to understand what the big deal is and said she was only trying to call attention to the north end of Main Street. “I’m not looking to make waves,” said the former caterer. “It’s a small town and the community has been wonderful. We have such a nice clientele. They are appreciative and supportive. I came here because I knew the theater was opening but we need to call attention to the businesses up here. In addition to the theater, wee have Oscar Zulu and the Portofino and Quintessential Cookie, but none of the boaters know this. We need a directory board or a map of the Village at the waterfront if we’re not able to advertise down there in other ways.”
Ms. Badolato said she did go before the Architectural Historic Review Board for approval for her Auntie A sign but didn’t realize she needed approval to paint her building. “How would I know this?” She said that she has also been chastised by Mr. Rudloff for the white wicker benches she has placed in front of Auntie A. “I’m just trying to accommodate my customers. If someone comes in for a slice and has their dog, they can’t come in but they still want to sit down and enjoy their pizza. People say they love the benches, but I guess they aren’t allowed. I see them up and down Main Street, though. I think they add something nice to the Village.”
Despite the obstacles, Ms. Badolato said she is committed to making Auntie A work and she said her cooking is her best advertisement.
“I know my food is good and I’m good,” she said. “This used to be a pizzeria. It’s not anymore. We still have pizza but the menu has changed 100 percent.” It’s a product of her collaboration with consulting chef Joseph Maulo, who was at Il Toscano in Queens.
Instead of emphasizing typical Italian fare such as chicken parmesan, Auntie A offers dishes such as Tuscan cold antipasto, a veal chop and eggplant Timpano and house-made ravioli.
“To accommodate theatergoers, we recommend that on weekends, parties with children be seated before 7 p.m.,” she said. “We put the white tablecloths on and light the candles. We’re not trying to push away families. It just becomes a different atmosphere on these nights. We still have the pizza and chicken parmesan and family casual nights during the week, we just offer fine dining as well.”
Auntie A is located at 225 Main Street. For more information, call 757-6700.

1 comment:

lolasmamma said...

I've lived in the village for over 20 years. It's a great place to live, but the small minds that run the village are still there - only the names have changed. I have no evidence on this, but I'll bet the restaurant owner is not "paying" nice enough with those in power. Instead of encouraging entrepreneurship, village officials are using every excuse to thwart this owner's efforts to bring in business and boost our revenues. Our code officers have too much time on their hands and are good at creating artificial bottlenecks to justify their jobs. Shame on all of you!