On Wednesday the License Commission issued a warning to a popular neighborhood bar and restaurant on Centennial Avenue for excessive noise and disturbances. However, the commissioners were sympathetic to the manager of Cinco de Mayo and said it seemed as though she was taking the steps necessary to address complaints about the restaurant.
“I took over [the restaurant] as manager after my father died, and after COVID, we did our best with the noise because we didn’t want to get a lot of complaints about noise,” said Madeline Rodriguez.
Rodriguez noted that she hired a detail officer to help tamp down on complaints and has worked to lower the noise from music at the restaurant. She also said that during weekends she is in the parking lot herself when the business closes at 2 a.m. to try to get everyone off the premises in an orderly manner. Additionally, Rodriguez said she has worked with the DJ to lower the music from the restaurant and is in the beginning stages of a remodel that will likely include additional soundproofing for Cinco de Mayo.
The restaurant has been open for 15 years, and Rodriguez said she found it odd that the constant complaints have only come to light in the past several months, after her family considered selling the restaurant then changed its mind. “I have no idea why this is going on just recently for the last couple of months,” said Rodriguez. “I have reports here of [complaint] calls on a Monday, and I’m closed on Monday. On a Thursday, I had one call when I was there, and the [detail] officer came inside and saw that I had no customers that night and I had no music.”
Ward 2 Councillor Ira Novoselsky said he lives about 100 yards from the restaurant, and while he can’t hear noise from it, he said, he does get some complaints from neighbors next door and across the street from Cinco de Mayo. Novoselsky said the biggest complaints he gets are about noise and public urination when people are leaving around 2 a.m. “I think you need to be more observant,” he said. “I know there is an issue in the parking lot itself.”
Rodriguez said she is out in the parking lot at closing time with onsite security during the weekends to try to take care of those issues. “I’m trying hard to work with my neighbors, and I’m trying my best in controlling the noise the best that I can,” she said.
Councillor-at-Large George Rotondo, who lives close to the restaurant on Dehon Street, painted a less rosy picture of the situation. He said he has been outside at the restaurant at closing time and not seen Rodriguez, but that he has seen patrons bringing bottles out from the restaurant into the parking lot. “There have been people shooting up in cars in your parking lot that had to get Narcan, and I’ve given the Narcan, and they refused medical care,” said Rotondo.
The noise and music has kept up his family and his neighbors, Rotondo said. “I can tell you that I am getting sick of it, and this is a huge problem,” he said. “It’s not just me; people in the neighborhood are upset about this.”
While Rotondo pointed out some major issues, several people also spoke up supporting Rodriguez and noted that Cinco de Mayo is an integral part of the neighborhood and community.
License Commissioner Linda Guinasso said the commission needs to address issues that affect the quality of life of residents, but added that the issues brought up at Cinco de Mayo are easily fixed. “You shouldn’t hear any music when you step outside, and I think you are working in the right direction, but the neighbors do have to be considered,” said Guinasso.
Commission Chair Robert Selevitch agreed and said that the restaurant would be issued a warning with no further action taken at this time. “If the situation gets worse or continues, you will have to come back in here, and the next time it won’t be a slap on the wrist,” said Selevitch.