Italian restaurant Mario's is in hot water this week after Motor City Muckraker editor Steve Neavling caught
employees valets and a waiter on camera apparently threatening him for questioning them about blocking a bike lane. Neavling alleges that the restaurant " ignores complaints about blocking new bike lanes in the Cass Corridor, using the lanes for valet parking" and claims that last year he experienced a similar situation during which staff attempted to break his car windows.
In the video one staff member appears to try and grab Neavling's cellphone while another waves him away from the property. Neavling, now standing off the property on Second Avenue, is shouted at by an individual who emerges from the restaurant (presumably the waiter) who tells him to "Get the fuck out of here" and later says "I'll kick your fucking head in." Neavling says he called the restaurant and attempted to meet with them and discuss the incident but was confronted by a parking attendant who "rushed towards me and began yelling within a few inches of my face."
Eater called Mario's and was unable to reach any staff member for immediate comment. Meanwhile, negative comments and one-star reviews have begun flooding the restaurant's Facebook and Yelp pages. Stay tuned for updates.
Update, 09/15, 3:38 p.m.: In a brief conversation with Eater, Mario's owner Vincent Passalacqua says the incident is "unfortunate" but claims that MCM editor Steve Neavling has "been antagonizing the valets for about two months." He further accuses the writer of editing the video to suit his story.
Passalacqua says states that has no plans to change his parking policy. "I paid the city $4,800 for a [car] staging area," he says noting that his restaurant serves an older clientele that expects valet service. Signs identifying the staging area are posted on the sidewalk. "The restaurant has been there longer than that bike lane . . . If someone wants to get by they can get by."