Police pressure could force closure of Buonanotte
One of Montreal's most popular restaurant and nightclub could be shutting down shortly, at the request of Montreal police.
Buonanotte restaurant on St. Laurent Blvd. is before the liquor board in an attempt to retain its liquor licence following a number of complaints from 2008 until 2015.
Police say Buonanotte is a magnet for trouble, and has frequently been the scene of fights. Police also allege that many customers are gang members.
Owner Massimo Lecas, speaking to the liquor board Tuesday morning, offered to shut down for 40 days as an attempt at a compromise.
He also said he would be willing to improve security training for his staff members.
The judge in the case has taken the suggestions under advisement.
Lecas said that in previous meetings with the police department's morality squad, officers said it is up to restaurant owners to throw out customers who are members of gangs or are linked to organized crime. Lecas said this puts too much onus on restaurant and bar owners.
"If they are in our place unlawfully, we are there to collaborate with (the police), but when they are in our place and acting lawfully, I am not a person to be judging or telling anyone what they should eat or not eat or whether they should be at my place or not, when they are acting lawfully, regardless of who they are," Lecas told CTV Montreal at the courthouse.
Buonanotte made international headlines in 2013 when it was ordered to remove the 'pasta' and other Italian words from its menu because of the apparent violation of Quebec's language laws.