Due to what he called 'overwhelming pressure' from the city of Lake Oswego to eliminate outdoor seating, the co-owner of Oliver's Stone-Oven Grill closed the restaurant Saturday night.
'I shut down a restaurant that was so beautiful, so wonderful and so giving,' said Jared Mannis. 'I made the best Reubens ever and gluten-free pizza and it was inexpensive. The city makes me sick.'
Mannis said the city's restriction on his use of patio tables 'put us in a position where we couldn't operate the business successfully.'
The restaurant has been, under various names, in Westlake Village for about 13 years.
Mannis said he had to fire 22 employees when he closed the doors at 8 p.m.
The city's position, as defined by City Manager Douglas Schmitz (see Page A6), was that the restaurant could have the seating if it received an amendment to a conditional use permit to allow outdoor dining. That would require city approval and approval of a panel of citizens, but otherwise it was prohibited.
Mannis said the city had not restricted the restaurant from serving food in the patio area when it was run as Talarico's for 10 years.
Mannis collected more than 600 signatures from customers who endorsed outdoor seating. Schmitz said 'it is a matter of law' and not 'popularity.'
The restaurant had also been under pressure from Erin O'Rourke-Meadors, president of the Westlake Homeowners Association. O'Rourke-Meadors objected to the restaurant's application for a full liquor license, allowing it to serve hard alcohol, in addition to beer and wine, which it already served.
She said she was concerned that customers who would drink hard alcohol at Oliver's could endanger the safety of nearby residents.
The Oregon Liquor Control Commission was set to rule within a couple weeks on the full liquor license for the restaurant.
Mannis said the outdoor seating was more important to the business than the full liquor license.
'The city restricted us so much, it didn't matter if we got the OLCC license,' he said.
Mannis said he has worked at the Old Spaghetti Factory, the Buffalo Gap, T.G.I. Friday's and Newport Bay restaurants but had 'never seen anything in my life like this,' referring to the pressure from the city and O'Rourke-Meadors.
'I don't think a city should ever restrict commerce,' he said. 'Why would a city ever want to take away a business that is respectable?'