ROYAL OAK, Mich. – It's been a week of back-and-forth between restaurateur Joe Vicari and Royal Oak Mayor Michael Fournier.
Vicari is closing his restaurant Andiamo on Main Street, citing a decreased number of diners because of parking woes.
“What I can say is I don’t believe it’s all attributable to parking in the downtown,” Fournier said.
Royal Oak is in the middle of major infrastructure improvements including revamping and renovating City Hall and the Police Department, which has shut down one of the main surface lots downtown. The mayor addressed all the improvements in his State of the City address on Wednesday night.
He sees tight parking as a temporary problem, but people out for the evening in downtown Royal Oak say finding a parking spot is a real pain and has been for quite some time.
“It’s like I hesitate and think twice, “ Audrey Lovy said. “I actually go to other restaurants that are farther away just so I don’t have to worry about parking.”
Still, even with Vicari shuttering the Andiamo location, the mayor said Royal Oak’s vacancy rate is one of the lowest in the metro area.