Casale Pizzeria: Only The Privileged May Park Here
There is a small, bricked parking lot in front of Casale, with lines painted to denote spots. One car was parked inside, but plastic cones were put in place to block any other cars from entering. This is not an easy neighborhood to find parking in, but we did, placed coinage in the meter, and walked in the rain a block or so to the restaurant. Still, I was curious as to why the parking lot was closed. A hostess explained that eventually it was going to be converted into an outdoor dining section, and they didn't want people getting used to parking there. A car pulled into the lot and parked while we were chatting. "Whose car is that?" I asked. "The manager's," she replied. And the other car was the owner's.
Now I can understand why they might want to keep the lot closed -- maybe, for instance, to keep the ground in good shape for when they put the tables in. But it just seems so elitist to have the management be able to use the space, but make everyone else drive around and pay for parking when there are perfectly good spaces available right in front. The whole idea of opening a dining establishment is supposedly to cater to those who you are enticing to come as your paying guests. This parking rule sends a subtle statement that we, the customers, are of secondary status to the management. True or not, I don't think that's the right message for a restaurant owner -- especially one as savvy as Pietro Vardeu -- to send.