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Nicky Rottens' Bar & Burger Joint Sues City Over Permits

The owners, who are seeking at least $5 million, claim their civil rights have been violated and charge that they have not been afforded due process by City Hall.

has filed suit against the city and City Manager Blair King, accusing them of “unfair, undue and inequitable harassment.”

The suit, which seeks at least $5 million in damages, was filed Tuesday by Nicky Rottens Investment Group in U.S. District Court in San Diego. The city was served Wednesday and King is being served Thursday, according to Ron A. Stormoen, the attorney representing the eatery. 

“I just wanted to be a family restaurant and be treated like other similar businesses,” owner Tim Aaron said. “That is all I’ve wanted from the beginning, but the city won’t let me.”

City officials said Thursday that King was not available for comment.

The 33-page complaint contends that the restaurant has been “the target of unreasonably stricter code enforcement, arbitrary and unreasonable land use regulations and/or unreasonable and unnecessary special conditions, delay and other unequal treatment.”

It also alleges that city has “specifically targeted” the business by treating it “differently and disparately than other and/or all other similarly situated commercial establishments.”

“We walk up and down Orange Avenue and see other restaurants that don’t have to follow the same rules as we do,” Stormoen said.

As examples, the attorney cited the requirement that the eatery close its large windows, which open to an outdoor seating area, by 10 p.m., and the treatment of their parking plan.

Nicky Rottens, he said, has to provide valet parking for customers, but the city has refused to provide a space for the valet to use, though Stormoen claims other restaurants have received the accommodation.

The restaurant must provide parking under the city's Orange Avenue Specific Plan;  with Coronado Hardware in March.  

Since its inception, the owners of Nicky Rottens could eat in the restaurant. The state Alcohol Beverage Control office approved the temporary change, but it includes all the conditions , plus another 22 conditions that Stormoen described as “weird.”

Among them was one that barred happy hours, while another prevented the restaurant from selling pitchers of beer.

“We are in negotiations with ABC to have these conditions lifted,” Stormoen said. 

Since the owners began working to transform an old tavern and laundromat into Nicky Rottens, a small, but vocal group of residents have complained that the restaurant would harm the neighborhood.

Councilwoman Carrie Downey, who has consistently supported the owners' efforts to make Nicky Rottens a family restaurant, said at a past meeting that she has received more mail over the eatery “than any other issue,” even the long-dead plan to build a tunnel from San Diego to Coronado.

“We could only take this so long,” Stormoen said. “We just want to be treated the same as everyone else.”

Ruth September 06, 2012 at 10:47 PM
I would like to see it become a family restaurant. It seems ludicrous that it is not by now. I hope you get the permits soon.
chucky mottern September 06, 2012 at 11:06 PM
I have been to Nicky Rottens many times for lunch and dinner. The food, customer service, scenic views and atmosphere is amazing! The old establishments that used to be there were run down until they redid the whole building & made the corner of Orange Ave. & 1st. really Pop!!! I think it's a shame that a business establishment who wants to appeal to families and tourist has to take other measures to make this happen. I believe all businesses should be treated equally as any person would want to be. I pray the city of Coronado see's that the business Nicky Rottens is a good thing for the city & neighborhood. I will continue to dine & support them until they become the family business they deserve to be!
Alicia Williams September 07, 2012 at 01:17 AM
I don't understand why they cannot sell pitchers of beer and offer happy hour when a couple of other restaurants in the same block promote bee and happy hour. I hope they become more of a family establishment soon as my kids really want to go!
Jason Ibanez September 07, 2012 at 03:21 AM
The joke is really on the city... every time they run a story about the city trying to destroy this place, it's free advertising for Nicky Rottens! A lot of folks in Coronado, myself included, are happy that there is a place like Nicky's in town and it's a shame that the city has made it so difficult for them to operate. Everyone should visit Nicky Rottens for a drink and a burger this weekend in support of their fight against the city.
Sandy September 07, 2012 at 07:24 PM
wow...we should be going out of our way to help businesses thrive instead of making it more difficult...shame on the city for being swayed by such a vocal minority!
Mickey Mouse September 08, 2012 at 12:10 AM
Jeeez.... nicky must've paid everyone above to post that drivel.... paid bloggers are so transparent. The owners are running a scam trying to circumvent city ordinances and parking restrictions for a liquor license...... all that other sob sister stories are pure BS We dont like mob innuendo in Coronado...... and "family restaurants" dont identify with mobsters and wise guys...Wise up nicky, we all know you are behind the scenes on this scam, even if your family accountant is now the new "Front owner". Take your mob style intimidation crap back to the east coast where it belongs and deserves to be
Jerry Toci September 11, 2012 at 05:39 AM
Superbly stated, Mickey Mouse. Mayor Casey Tanaka and Councilmembers Mike Woiwode, Carrie Downey and Al Ovrom have failed us in many ways. The $16Mil Tunnel scandal, massive debt, overbuilding, and now THIS - a lawsuit against US, the people of Coronado. Shameful. Residents pleaded with City Hall to not get involved with these people, but what did they do? They vigorously supported the outrageous demands from out-of-town bar/nightclub owners over the wishes of their constituents, the residents of Coronado. Now WE get sued for $5Mil. For WHAT, we have no idea, but it's going to cost big bucks to every Coronado homeowner. Nicky Rotten's just killed their own local market - it's not likely that ANYONE from Coronado will EVER patronize the joint! Rotten's is an appropriate name, and no, we don't live in fear of our City government OR out-of-town thugs. Folks, please don't re-elect Casey Tanaka or Mike Woiwode in November.
Jimmy Colin September 12, 2012 at 05:15 PM
Hey Jerry, read the lawsuit there is a link that may answer your "For What." If the federal government says there is enough evidence to continue this case, then a impartial jury will deiced the outcome. Pray this does not go to a jury we don't need to hand anyone 5 mil.
Jonathan Nelissen September 14, 2012 at 03:00 AM
Hey Leonard I think you fail to realize the city is the one at fault for not regulating all the the restaurants on Orange ave the same way! It sounds to me like it's a personal thing by the city against individuals not on violations! Get your facts together! Idiot!!!
Jonathan Nelissen September 14, 2012 at 04:59 AM
Looks like someone didn't read the lawsuit! Wow so angry!!!
Travis Johnson September 14, 2012 at 05:04 PM
Nicky isn't even a part of this restaurant anymore! What are you talking about?
Jimmy Colin September 19, 2012 at 07:08 PM
Just looked this up to see if there was any new info. It is a shame that some people are so angry about this business. I hope the city will try to look objectively at this place and see the whole picture. Whatever drama that happened with "Nick" needs to be let go. You won, he is gone, you chased him out of town. What is left is simply a business and as far as I can see it is clean, friendly, and by no means rowdy & loud. At some point you have to stop the he said she said and look at facts. No police action no problemo stop the hate.

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