MIDDLETOWN, CT (WFSB) - It was the last call for a popular restaurant in Middletown.
The First & Last Tavern on Main Street is being evicted from its space, according to Mayor Dan Drew.
Drew said the City of Middletown filed a suit against the restaurant in January due to overdue rent dating back to 2016.
First & Last ended up owing the city roughly $140,000, according to Drew.
He said court-mandated mediation took place earlier this month.
As of April 1, the restaurant will no longer occupy the space, he said.
"The city has received many expressions of interest by other restaurant groups and will pursue the one most beneficial to the taxpayers of Middletown," Drew said.
The owner of the restaurant says he's been trying to work out a deal with the city for years, after he claims to be losing business because there's not enough parking.
First and Last Tavern waitress, Patty Quintiliani, is coming up in 20 years of working at the Middletown restaurant.
"I've been every day since it opened, March 2000, we started training. I've seen the pictures going up on the wall," said Quintiliani.
Owner, Tony Scacca, says rent costs more than $9,000 a month.
He admits being behind, but says he tried to work something out with the city.
"I'm not going to shy away and the conversation I had with the city to try to make things right. We get behind and then caught up and then behind and we get caught up and then we got behind and asked for help. Help never came," said Scacca.
The restaurant has lost business during snow storms when there's a parking ban, but they say the bigger issue is parking.
A parking garage was torn down in the back of their building in May of 2018.
"You got a small parking lot in the back. They took away our take-away parking that was here for 18 years, that we were allowed to use on the side of the building," Scacca said.
Scacca says 22 percent of his business was take away, or to go orders.
That's down more than half after those parking spots were taken away.
First and Last Tavern is independently owner, so the other locations aren't affected.
Channel 3 reached out to Drew for a comment on the refusal to accept overdue rent as well as the parking issues.
Drew released a statement saying:
"I am writing to clarify statements made by First & Last regarding claims that the City of Middletown refused to accept overdue rent. This is untrue. The city tried multiple times over multiple years to collect the restaurant’s debt. First & Last promised multiple times that it would pay in full and, as recently as December, promised full back payment but paid nothing. At some points, the restaurant stated that it would only pay its debt if the city re-negotiated its lease. First & Last has claimed that demolition of the city’s parking garage (in the spring of 2018) led to its troubles but the restaurant was already in debt to the city by late 2016 – a full year-and-a-half before the garage was demolished."