Otilia Schweitzer (rt) and brother Saul Palacios ready to cook again at Pizza Buona.
Otilia Schweitzer sat in the empty dining room of her Echo Park pizza parlor, Pizza Buona, on Wednesday afternoon looking dazed and tired. A building inspector had been by earlier for what was supposed to have been the final inspection before the corner restaurant could reopen nine months after a car crashed into the dining room. That crash coincided with the filing of a lawsuit over the restaurant’s lack of a restroom accessible to people with disabilities and was followed by other snafus and delays, leaving Pizza Buona closed and many customers wondering if they would ever once again savor a freshly made garlic bread stick or a Pizza Rustica.
Everything seemed to be going well during Wednesday’s final inspection except for one thing. The restaurant was missing window “stickers,” Schweitzer said.
The stickers Schweitzer was referring to are those blue decals with a wheelchair icon that must be posted at the entrance to let visitors know the space is complaint with the Americans With Disabilities Act. Schweitzer and her family then went into a form of sticker shock when they could not find ADA-compliant decals – which must include Braille markings – nearby and had to order them online. The inspector left, saying to call him back to find out if he could let them open with out the decals, Schweitzer said.
Schweitzer said it would only take her family a day to get the parlor back in business once they passed inspection. “Everything is ready,” said Schweitzer of the newly re-panneled and re-floored dining room and a newly constructed, ADA-compliant restroom.
In fact, repairing the damage to the dining room overlooking Sunset Boulevard and Alvarado Street was a relatively easy fix. The new restroom, however, was another matter. After the restroom and short hallway were completed, inspectors determined that there was insufficient clearance when the restroom door swung open, Schweitzer said. That forced the family to buy and install an electric-powered door, which triggered another round of construction and inspections.
“It’s a tragedy,” Schweitzer said. “We have been closed sine August.”
Schweitzer said she and her family are ready to return to the restaurant. She said she hopes customers will do the same. “I hope we get business.”