Mafiaoza’s is Icky, and it’s Not the Pizza

I enjoy being nice, and I generally think people are wonderful. Not being a mean, angry person works out well for me, and I have few complaints. However, once in a while there comes a behavior so appallingly insensitive, so overwhelmingly jerky, that I am forced to reconsider my decision.

Earlier this week, I went with a friend to a beloved Nashville pizzeria [I don’t want to embarrass anyone, so let’s just call it Mafioza’s] for their lauded 2-for-1 beer and slice night. For those of you who have never been, it is as magical as it sounds: a fairy wonderland of pizza mountains, irrigated by rivers of beer. I look forward to going any chance I get, and as part of this week of Paschal celebrations, this time was no exceptions

By their front door, they have one of these. I stress one, because it is, in fact, the only space like it in the entire restaurant lot, including the back:


Generally, a wheelchair being painted on a parking spot calls to mind people with disabilities, who are allowed to park in said spots, due to the fact that the spots are wider and have more space to load and unload mobility equipment. The spaces are also designed and placed in such a way as to allow an unobstructed, close access to the ramp or front door.

We had already parked elsewhere and were waiting on our laser-table-buzzer thing to go off when a black SUV pulled into the reserved space. [I happened to be right next to the driver’s-side door]. The driver hopped out and sauntered through the front door [after giving a warm greeting to each police officer posted there to check IDs]. I didn’t see a hang tag on the dashboard. There was no wheelchair symbol on the license plate. The police offers said nothing else. I was miffed, to say the least.

I went over to the police officer nearest me and said, “Excuse me, but did you see that? He parked there illegally.”

“Yeah,” said the officer, a bit defeated, “He does it all the time.”

“Oh. Well, can you not ticket him for that?” I asked.

“We can’t do anything about it.,” I could tell he was ashamed, “He’s the owner.”

My jaw hung open as the officer explained to me that since the restaurant was private property, a sign should be posted denoting any penalty for parking there [in addition to the space being painted; he had not posted a sign]. Beyond that, the decision is made to ticket or not ticket the person who parks there illegally; that decision is the prerogative of–wait for it–the owner.

Just so it sinks in for the folks at home: the owner of the restaurant routinely parks in the only space marked for use by people with disabilities on the entire property, knowing he can do so without any consequences, by virtue of his ownership. Not only does his nonchalance irk me in the first place, the real kicker is he has no qualms about doing this RIGHT IN FRONT OF A PERSON WHO USES A WHEELCHAIR.

Days later, I am still baffled by his behavior. Even after taking time to cool off [of which I needed a lot], I still feel slighted, disrespected, ignored, and discounted as a patron of the business. To keep people out by virtue of limiting or obstructing their access is to discriminate, exclude, and ignore them.

The Founding Fathers talked about our unalienable rights: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I am no political science scholar, but I am fairly certain that infringing upon someone’s access to pizza and beer is to seriously tamper with her pursuit of happiness.

To the owner of Mafioza’s: if you want a spot by the door, paint the word “Owner” in a parking space. Don’t steal what could be someone else’s only safe way to enter your restaurant. You’re hurting your reputation, your business, and your chance to get to know your neighbors. Your food is cool. Your beer selection is cool. But you regularly park in a space marked for people with disabilities because you’re the owner and you can; and that’s not cool.

To other Nashville businesses: inclusion is hip, equality is sexy.

Be hip and sexy. Don’t let me down.


34 thoughts on “Mafiaoza’s is Icky, and it’s Not the Pizza

  1. If it were me I would “name and shame”. This is merely a symptom of a much bigger problem: people no longer have consideration for their neighbour. It’s exactly the same as when someone cuts you off in traffic, shove you out of the way, push ahead of you in line, etc. Here it’s made worse by the fact that there’s a sign saying “Respect your neighbour”, so it’s not like he could say he forgot or something.


      • as a non nashville person.. i wouldnt know.
        i suggest commenting on yelp and etc that the owner routinely parks in the ONLY handicapped parking spot available…
        and contacting the city/state disabilities rights person


    • I am going to try to organize a response after I check with an ADA person on what we can do. Wonder if the Scene would pick up something like this. . .?


  2. According to the ADA Federal Guidelines, he’s violating quite a few requirements. However, this post does say to note: “It is important to note that ADA provides the central set of guidelines. State and local government have the authority to impose own codes, as long as they meet or exceed those contained in the ADA. It is always advisable to check with local codes for precise handicap parking rules and access signs posting guidelines.” Still read the following-


    • Thanks for checking. I am also going to follow up with a work colleague regarding ADA, so I go into the situation with the right information when asking for others’ involvement/response


    • What side is that? The side where he explains why he has a right to use PWD designated parking because it’s his lot and he does what he wants (selfishness)? The side where he claims a disability that he hasn’t bothered to get a placard or plate for (dishonesty)? The side where he claims he didn’t know it was illegal (more dishonesty) or wrong (moral turpitude)? Any side he might try to give would actually only serve to make him look worse.


  3. I an disabled due to diabetic leg ulcers, and deep vein thrombosis. Many times i have seen men and women park in these spots for handicapped people. I had one at wal mart recently race me for the parking spot, when i confronted them about it; they said well you still found a spot to park in. Im able to walk so i wasnt as much concerned about me, but rather a elderly person that needed it more. Long story short after making a scene about it in front of a cop, the man finally moved his car.


  4. As the owners of MAFIAoZA’S, we sincerely apologize for the person parking in the handicapped spot in front of our restaurant. In addition, we were out of town this past Tuesday so we are looking into who exactly it was that the officer identified. For almost ten years, the restaurant has experienced a wonderful relationship with its patrons and neighbors and this is the first incident of this nature that has ever been brought to our attention. We will make sure this does not happen again as we respectfully and emphatically understand the needs of our ADA customers.


  5. As the owners of MAFIAoZA’S, we sincerely apologize for the person parking in the handicapped spot in front of our restaurant. In addition, we were out of town this past Tuesday so we are looking into who exactly it was that the officer identified. For almost ten years, the restaurant has experienced a wonderful relationship with its patrons and neighbors and this is the first incident of this nature that has ever been brought to our attention. We will make sure this does not happen again as we respectfully and emphatically understand the needs of our ADA customers.


  6. Your story states that you were already waiting out by the door (I assume next to the patio fence) and that you or your party had to park elsewhere. Why didn’t you park in the handicapped space when you first arrived? Was it already occupied by another handicapped labeled vehicle? It wasn’t occupied by the owner upon your arrival because you were waiting outside when he pulled in. So my question is why were you not able to take advantage of the handicapped space upon your arrival? Why was it vacant if you were already parked and waiting for your table? Was it serving its function to another handicapped patron upon your arrival?

    Anyway…yes, the owner is a prick for parking in the only handicapped spot, but if the local/state laws allow him to do that (which, according to the cop–whom I generally don’t like but they probably know what they’re talking about here–it is his right via a lame technicality), then your efforts would be better spent lobbying local government or the ADA to enforce stricter regulations on handicapped provisions. Getting The Scene or other local high profile periodical to cover your incident will only get your name in the papers and create a little heat for a while; it won’t change much in the end.

    We’ve all been to Mafioza’s and we all know their parking situation is like most other places downtown or in the periphery: it sucks. If you’re unhappy about the lack of handicapped provisions, contact the owner yourself and discuss the incident and how to avoid it in the future; contact local state lawmakers to see how to get stricter measures enforced; carpool; or just recognize that not everyone gives a shit that you’re handicapped and go spend your money at a place that cares. Trust me, they won’t notice, much less miss, our patronage if we boycotted. Businesses can be callous like that, but Mafioza’s isn’t a monopoly. Plus, one thing to think about is if you cause a stink and create problems for the owner and you’re a high profile customer, they’ll probably put all sorts of unsavory bodily fluids in your food whenever you go back. Were I you, I’d consider just finding another pizza joint that wasn’t run by an asshole.

    Ultimately, though, you need to recognize that in a free world no one is required to really give a damn about you. Sympathy and empathy are not mandatory. You are not entitled to the sensitivity of others. No one has to take your money. Or give you a job. At first, this seems terrible because you–someone who already suffers–have to potentially endure more suffering at the hands of insensitive business owners. However, the beauty of this free market world is that it reveals business owners’ true character to their clientele so that they may be judged accordingly by their community. Thankfully, they’re not the only pizza game in town. This behavior diminishes my opinion of the place, for sure. The owner seems like a twat. But this whole story also comes off as kind of whiny and self-absorbed. You are shocked by people’s “appalling insensitivity”? Why? To most, you’re a stranger in a city of millions taking advantage of a popular restaurant’s discount beer/pizza night. If your tone of self-entitled, scandalized indignation had been replaced instead by a plea to the owner for compassion, you might have sold this better. I understand being angry at personal injustice but anger rarely convinces people of anything. Frankly, this article makes you you come off as more of a bitchy headache than anything. Is that insensitive of me? Yeah, but what have you done to earn my sensitivity? No such thing as a free lunch.


  7. I have not been to said restaurant. I do not plan to go now. And
    You really spend too much time being insensitive here to hint at anyone wanting to earn your sensitivity.


  8. From: Brett Corrieri []
    Sent: Friday, May 10, 2013 3:57 PM
    To: Menish, Robert
    Subject: Re: Are you aware of this?
    “We are. Thank you. Here is what we have in response.
    This was at our Nashville location.
    As the owners of MAFIAoZA’S, we sincerely … ” yada yada yada
    From: Menish, Robert
    Sent: Friday, May 10, 2013 3:58 PM
    To: Brett Corrieri
    Subject: RE: Are you aware of this?

    So the police officer lied, huh?
    From: Brett Corrieri []
    Sent: Friday, May 10, 2013 4:01 PM
    To: Menish, Robert
    Subject: RE: Are you aware of this?

    There were no owners there. We are looking into the officer and what he said.


    • (The last move on my end was to contact someone who specializes in ADA issues, and the restaurant was looking into the incident and speaking to their own attorneys, But last I passed by there is no signage or anything. That’s all I am really asking for in this case: one square of partking lot for my peers who happen to drive and like pizza.) I will try emailing them again this week.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s