A popular Mile End restaurant is once more on the brink after a punctured water main caused "a four-metre high gusher" to erupt, the Gazette reported yesterday. As a result of the flash flood, Thai Grill co-owner Frédéric Pichette says "it will be at least a week before he can reopen."
This is not the 20-year-old restaurant's first brush with acts of God or municipal ineptitude. Just last November, restaurant critic Lesley Chesterman reported that Thai Grill co-owner Nicolas Scalera "watched his business come to a halt when the sidewalks were widened."
For four months, the entrance to his restaurant was accessible only by a small plank set over a mud pit. Construction, estimated to last a month, started in August yet only finished in early November. Scalera said customers not only petered out, many called to see if he was closed. "I paid $68,000 in taxes to the city last year. It would have been nice to see a break during construction."
"I’ve been here for 17 years. I have some rights as well. But they don’t care," Scalera said. "I had (city councillor) Alex Norris (for the Jeanne-Mance district) tell me right to my face that they don’t want people coming in from other areas or Laval to eat in restaurants in this area. He told me the Plateau is for the Plateau residents. I’d like the city to promote our restaurants instead of doing nothing to help us. Instead, I’ve seen a major decline in business. I will never open anything or invest in the Plateau again. It’s too risky. You could lose everything."