One way to tell when a restaurant is a hit is when the limos start lining up outside, but at a certain point a restaurant's success becomes a neighbor's nightly nuisance. Which is what has happened to Mario Batali's always-crowded West Village Italian restaurant, Babbo. Apparently the 13-year-old restaurant is really a man now, and like most kids that age, it is driving the neighbors nuts. Don't you feel just awful for those poor sleepless West Villagers?
Though no formal complaints have been logged with the NYPD, some unamused neighbors have turned to the New York Post to solve their problem, pointing out to the paper where limos linger, trucks and taxis idle and diners dare to take their time saying their good nights after an expensive meal. "I can’t tell you how much I hate that restaurant. All I can smell is exhaust some nights," one neighbor told the tabloid.
"They call for their limos and private cars, and the drivers double-park. They come out and take their sweet time saying goodbye to their friends and whatnot," another moaned. And that isn't even the worst! "When celebrities show up, forget it. They own the whole block," he added.
The police say they will now be keeping an eye out for lingering limos, but this all seems a touch silly. People are complaining that the excellent restaurant on their block—one which takes its last reservations at 11:15 p.m. most nights—is too popular? Would they prefer the space be something less likely to draw lines, like Dunkin' Donuts? 'Cause a few loud-talking rich folk and idling cars seem like less of a nuisance than the rioting teens that can be found just blocks away.
We tried to reach folks at Babbo for comment but the number at the restaurant was busy the three times we tried—it is a popular restaurant!