SALEM — A bench in front of the In A Pig’s Eye restaurant will be allowed to stay.
The bench was the subject of scrutiny by the Salem City Council last week, after a nearby resident complained that groups of people were gathering there late at night and disturbing the neighborhood. The council voted Thursday to allow the bench to stay, as long as restaurant staff agree to keep people from loitering and causing a disturbance. In A Pig’s Eye is on the corner of Derby and Daniels streets; the bench is on the Daniels Street side of the building.
Robert White, of 16 Daniels St., Apt. 2, and his landlord had sent a letter of complaint about the bench to the City Council. Police have responded to 10 noise complaints recently at the site of the bench, all after 1 a.m. The bench has sat in front of the restaurant for more than five years, said Jenny Reardon, owner of In A Pig’s Eye. It’s used by people who step outside to smoke, wait for a taxi or a table, she said.
The restaurant closes and all customers leave by 1:15 a.m., Reardon told the council.
The bench was removed for a trial period recently, but people continued to congregate where the bench had been, said Councilor Michael Sosnowski.
“The issue is not the bench itself, but the people,” said Councilor Robert McCarthy, who noted there are four more benches nearby on Derby Street.
“The bench is not the issue. ... It’s a matter of moving people along,” said Councilor Jerry Ryan. “(The residents) need quiet, but they moved to a neighborhood with a restaurant that’s been there for a long time.”
According to the restaurant’s website, Jenny and Jon Reardon purchased In A Pig’s Eye in 1986. The spot has been a restaurant since the 1970s, however, and before that it was a bar.
Sosnowski vouched for the owners, saying they can be trusted to make sure their customers don’t cause a disturbance.
“Let's control the people, and we’ll go from there,” Sosnowski said. “If they can’t be controlled, we’ll revisit (the issue).”
Councilor Joseph O’Keefe voted against allowing the bench, saying, “I would not want this on my street or in my ward.”
Bethany Bray can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @SalemNewsBB.