MONTCLAIR, NJ - After scoffing at the Governor's Executive Orders and repeatedly allowing patrons to continue to dine inside, the owner of Cuban Pete's is now locked out of his business.
On Monday morning, Montclair Police changed the locks on the doors of Cuban Pete’s restaurant, locking out the owner and workers. This was after three violations of the Executive Order, within a two-month-span.
In August, owner Dominick Restaino, who is a resident of Towaco, NJ, was cited for violations on two instances. In the first cited violation, on Friday, Aug. 7, Police and Montclair Health Department officials were called to the establishment after receiving a tip that indoor dining was taking place. The second violation took place on August 23 when Montclair Police went to Cuban Pete's to investigate a noise complaint and noticed that nearly 15 guests were seated at three tables. Then, on October 3, police were alerted to another violation at the establishment. Officers and Montclair health officials arrived to find the indoor area over capacity.
When contacted, after the third violation, Montclair Mayor Sean Spiller said that he would be referring the matter to the Essex County Prosecutor's Office to address. ECPO officials confirmed that the restaurant was shut down because it, "was not in compliance with the Governor's orders."
After the third violation, the New Jersey Department of Health sought the order and ECPO officials assisted by changing locks Monday.
Prior to Monday, Restaino had repeatedly stated that he had no intention on complying with the order because he had to "make money." However, after seeing the locks changed on Monday, Restaino changed his tune and appeared remorseful that he was temporarily put out of business.
Standing outside in disbelief, he said, "I'm out of business. It's a bad dream."
Even with partial lifting of the executive orders, Restaino had still been defiant. During the third citation, officials arrived to find the establishment over capacity of the recommended 25%, in his dining area.
"I feel bad for the businesses that went under," Restaino said after stating that he understands his error and will comply with future orders.
The matter is set to be heard in court on November 19.