Taunton Pizza Shop Heated After Installation of Outdoor Seating Without Their Consent
There are two sides to every story and one Taunton business is ready to share its opinions on the new outdoor seating area coming to Taunton.
Yesterday, I shared the news that the City of Taunton received a $40,000 grant from MassDOT’s Shared Streets and Spaces program, allowing for temporary outdoor seating between School Street and Knotty Walk.
Mike Cashman, the owner of Devito’s Pizzeria, is less than thrilled about the project that is blocking the entrance to his shop.
Devito’s Pizzeria has been in operation since 2009, serving up fresh pizza by the Taunton Green and developing a loyal following over the years. Cashman knew the plan was in the works for the past few years, but the last he heard, it was a squashed deal.
“Economic Development came to us about two years ago telling us their plan, and I told them I was against it, and I was going to fight it,” he said. “Then, when nothing happened, we heard it wasn’t happening, so I didn’t do anything about it.
About a year ago, a car crashed into a railing by the store, and a few weeks ago, the sidewalk was finally fixed. Cashman said he believes it was preparation for the installation of the seating, and when he caught word on Friday that the installation was happening Monday, he was upset.
Cashman described the setup as an “ugly circus.” Black, metal picnic tables sit directly under the sun in what used to be his shop's parking spots, with wooden ramps for handicapped accessibility that appear undone.
“It’s open to the public, so anyone can just come and linger here,” he said. “It’s harder for our customers to stop in and out; it’s going to affect business.”
As we spoke, sirens blared in the background as an emergency vehicle rushed toward the hospital around the corner.
“That happens all the time,” he said. “Who would want to sit here and listen to that?”
Traffic appears to be severely affected near the rotary that leads to downtown, and Cashman is hoping to do something about it.
“(The city) had a closed-door meeting on Monday, so I went to the meeting to oppose, and nothing came of it; it was all said and done,” he said. “I’m going to the meeting tonight to try and resolve the issue, and I’ll be meeting with other business owners around here to talk about what to do.”
While it seemed like a good idea in the eyes of the city, the businesses directly affected by it disagree.
We’ll have to wait and see if the pleas of Devito’s Pizzeria and the surrounding businesses are listened to or if they fall on deaf ears.