CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s just one way people feel normal again – eating out.
But one Near North Side restaurant has not opened its patio yet, and it’s not over coronavirus concerns.
As CBS 2’s Jermont Terry reported Monday night, the eatery said it’s an issue with the landlord.
Many restaurants were stuck with takeout and delivery for months. But now that patio dining is allowed, Pelago can’t participate because it is not safe because of falling debris.
Across Chicago, you’ll find people enjoying the weather and a meal at select restaurants. Patio dining is the only way people are allowed to eat at their favorite spots.
But over at Pelago, 201 E. Delaware Pl., the patio is empty – and customers keep calling asking one question.
“Everyone call me and tell me, ‘Why haven’t you opened the patio?’ and they think I’m crazy,” said owner Mauro Mafrici.
But Mafrici is not crazy. He’s concerned.
He’s worried about stones that keep falling from a building located at Delaware Place off Michigan Avenue and the Magnificent Mile.
“This is not right,” Mafrici said.
The patio at Pelago is normally packed in the summer months. Mafrici blames his landlord for the problems that led to the falling stones.
“No waiting no longer, no reason for me to bother you every day,” he said. “I send so many letters, so many emails to them, and they never respond.”
He is insisting the out-of-state company doesn’t seem to care he’s losing business. And he is concerned he is going to lose all business.
Mafrici showed Terry emails dating back to January that he sent to the out-of-state landlord.
City records show the permit for the scaffolding in front of the Delaware Place building was extended last week. But the beams didn’t just pop up.
“The scaffolding been up since the beginning of December,” Mafrici said.
And now with stones dropping, going inside is questionable.
“I can’t have people walking through here,” Mafrici said.
CBS 2 looked into the property records and determined the building has failed a few inspections over the past five years.
That includes the most recent inspection from March 2019, due to “failure to maintain interior walls and ceiling from free holes or cracks.”
Mafrici called city inspectors last week, but full inspection has not been completed yet. For now, he just wants to reap the benefits of Phase 3.
“Do the job as soon as possible,” he said.
Mafrici’s lease is not up for another seven years, so leaving is not really an option – and he likes the area.
Terry reached out to the landlord via email. They did not respond late Monday, but CBS 2 will most definitely stay on top of it.