City angers new restaurateur to the T
It’s always been a dream for Trevor Cesarone to open a family-run restaurant.
The dream came true when he recently opened the doors to Papa Tee’s Pizzeria on Victoria Street.
However, the year-long process to get approval from the city building and inspection department has left the restaurateur with a bad taste in his mouth.
“I feel slighted for sure,” Cesarone told KTW.
His ill feelings are toward the city, specifically what he sees as unfair treatment to get his business off the ground.
When Cesarone applied for a business licence, he was told by city officials he would need to get a proper venting system to deal with grease-laden vapours before he could open — a requirement for all restaurants with menus that involve that type of cooking.
He complied and had the system installed, which added up to more than $50,000.
But, Cesarone insists there are a handful of new cafes and restaurants in Kamloops doing all sorts of cooking without the proper equipment.
And, he’s left wondering why he had to spend so much money, while other businesses were able to set up without the extra cost.
Cesarone even went so far as to lodge a formal complaint with the city, providing a list of restaurants he suspected are breaking the rules.
The response did nothing to satisfy Cesarone.
“I would like everyone to have to be on the same playing field,” he said.
However, both city and Kamloops Fire Rescue officials say the restaurant owner is being treated fairly.
Kundan Bubbar, the city’s chief building inspector, noted when an individual applies for a permit, the city asks for the menu and determines whether it involves frying or grease-laden material.
The city also asks other agencies, such as the fire department and the Interior Health Authority, to look at the application.
Once the permit is issued, the fire department carries out regular inspections to ensure each business is in compliance.
Bubbar said the licence is issued based on information provided by the business.
“As far as we’re concerned, he’s [Cesarone] being treated fairly based on the information he’s provided,” Bubbar said.
In the case of Cesarone, Bubbar acknowledged the complaint, noting it was forwarded to the fire department.
KFR chief fire-prevention officer Dean Olstad said inspectors investigated the complaint by Cesarone, but found no evidence to suggest the other businesses weren’t following the rules.
“Whatever it was that they were doing fell completely within the guidelines of what they were allowed to do,” he said, adding the inspections were random.
Olstad said often there is confusion around what is being cooked and the smell being generated.
He said his department does receive a fair amount of complaints from the public about restaurants, based on a smell.
Though someone might think cooking an egg would fall under the grease-laden category, Olstad said that is not the case.
Instead, he said, cooking meats on a grill or deep-frying foods typically falls under the category.
Olstad said any business found skirting the rules would be forced to comply with regulations.
“He’s [Cesarone] not being treated any differently than any other business in the city of Kamloops,” Olstad said.