Pizzeria asks for relief from Seattle methadone clinic patients
The restaurant business is widely regarded as one of the most difficult business models to make work. You need to have great food, customer service and, as they say in real estate, location, location, location.
At the corner of Madison Street and Boren Avenue, Italian Family Pizza has secured stellar reviews for their food and service, but their restaurant’s location could be the most insurmountable (and dangerous) obstacle to survival. As the Seattle Times first reported, owners claim a Seattle methadone clinic it to blame.
“The spot where we were on First and Seneca is being redeveloped, so we took this spot in January,” said Steve Calozzi, who owns and runs the restaurant with his wife, Jen. “The one thing we weren’t aware of was there was a methadone clinic about two or three blocks away. We are in the path of all the methadone and heroin junkies and the drippies that come through here to get on the bus.”
Pizza fight with Seattle methadone clinic
According to Calozzi, not only is the open usage and sale of drugs a common sight, encounters between his family and the clinic’s patients have increased in frequency and violence. Knives and needles have been brandished at him, his wife spit on, and his son robbed.
“Recently, my son was held up at gunpoint in the First Baptist parking lot right next to the methadone clinic,” Calozzi said. “My kid cut through the parking lot, a guy pulls a gun and steals his chain.”
Going before the Seattle City Council, Jen Calozzi recounted her family’s ordeal thus far and pleaded for assistance in their plight regarding the Seattle methadone clinic. After her allotted minute to speak had ended, the mic was cut and she was dismissed. Steve Calozzi wasn’t sure where to turn next.
“I’m a mom and pop shop. I have a little pizzeria. I paid $17,000 last month in taxes. Some of that tax money definitely went to supplying methadone,” Calozzi said. “We don’t mind helping the people that need the help, but to be attacked on top of it as our reward, we’ve had enough. As a concerned citizen, what can I do to get help?”
When asked if he had a message for the Seattle City Council and Mayor Ed Murray, Calozzi had an idea for some perspective.
“To the city council and the mayor, maybe we should open a methadone clinic in their apartment building or near their kids’ school or near their homes. Maybe we should put one there?” Calozzi suggested.
“Maybe it’s time to say ‘Mayor Murray, you didn’t do us right, here.’ Maybe it’s time for a fresh start and for them to attack the crime areas.”
This interview can be heard in its entirety below.