NORFOLK - Norfolk City Council voted Tuesday to allow a new restaurant in Ocean View to stay open until 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.
The vote to approve AJ Gators' extended operating hours could signal more changes for the area.
Mona Lisa’s Pizza is two doors down from where AJ Gators will open. Like most bars and restaurants in Ocean View, Mona Lisa’s must close by midnight.
The restaurant owners say they now plan to apply to the city for later operating hours.
“What happens is people come here, prime time we get packed and we're already calling last call,” says owner Tommy Posilero. ”So we just lose money. That's a lot of money for a small business to make between 12 and 2 a.m.”
Posilero plans to meet with the East Ocean View Civic League in the coming weeks to make sure they support his restaurant also staying open to 2 a.m. Without the later hours, he’ll be at a competitive disadvantage.
“I think with the city even giving businesses coming in Ocean View a chance to stay open and be competitive with the other businesses, it's going to bring more businesses to Ocean View and I think that's going to benefit me,” says Posilero.
Civic league president John Greene says council’s approval of AJ Gators to stay open until 2 a.m. speaks well to an improved outlook on Ocean View.
“The area cleaned up significantly and I think that's resulted in an attitude change, not only here in East Ocean View, but I think within the city, that things are improving,” says Greene.