Complaints about the Game Day Grill on E. Tremont Avenue have nothing to do with ethnicity and everything to do with behavior, according to Community Board 10 manager Ken Kearns. In May, E. Tremont Avenue business owners and Waterbury LaSalle residents met Kearns and Game Day Grill co-proprietor Bobby Mileno at the CB10 district office to vent. Trouble at the bar often spills onto the street, they said.
In response, Mileno tempered Game Day Grill’s weekend party nights – no more hip-hop, no more meringue. Business at the bar has dipped. Mileno recently suggested that the outrage directed at Game Day Grill was ethnically motivated. The bar has been a predominantly Hispanic hangout, he said. If it had been an Irish bar, it might have been treated differently.
Kearns begs to differ. Neighborhood complaints have involved noise, violence and public urination. At the May meeting, no one mentioned ethnicity, he said.
“Community Board 10 takes issue with the contention that the concern was ethnically motivated,” said Kearns. “It was not. It was purely based on the conduct of the clientele and the management of the facility. At no point were the ethnic backgrounds of the clientele even considered.”
Neighborhood distaste for Game Day Grill came to a head after a series of incidents on E. Tremont Avenue. There were a handful of fights. On May 9, a motorist rammed his or her car into the Victor Quirolo & Sons Funeral Home lot fence, crushed a parked car and fled. Business owners often find vomit and broken glass on the block. There’s little proof that Game Day Grill is responsible for all or even the bulk of the incidents, Mileno has said. Kearns hasn’t received a complaint since Mileno put the weekend activity on ice.
E. Tremont landlord Ron Giarnella took issue with Mileno and his defense.
“We have no problem with Spanish people,” Giarnella said. “It’s the hostile element [Mileno] is attracting.”
Joe McDermott works at Quirolo & Sons.
“The people who come to [Game Day Grill] are rowdy people,” he said. “They come to the bar half-drunk already. By the time they leave, they’re totally destroyed.”
Months ago, McDermott stumbled into a razor blade fight on E. Tremont during a funeral and blamed Game Day Grill. One combatant threatened McDermott, he said.
“It isn’t ethnicity,” said McDermott. “It’s allowing kids to come from who knows where to get out of control.”
Game Day Grill’s liquor license expires on July 31, not on July 1, as previously reported. In May, business owners and residents asked Assemblyman Michael Benedetto to alert the State Liquor Authority to neighborhood concerns. Benedetto and CB10 have elected to wait and see. Mileno plans to launch a regular karaoke night on Friday, July 10, in lieu of hip-hop.