DUBUQUE, Iowa– Mario’s restaurant has always had a rich history in Dubuque.
“Mario’s has been known for about 36 year, most famous for making Panzerotti which is an Italian word for stomach.” Said Ryan Robinson, Management of Mario’s.
The restaurant was one of many that had been grandfathered through ADA regulations up until 2010.
Due to regulations passed by the city in 2008, the restaurants entrance, and bathrooms were not up to standards that mirrored that of the Americans With Disabilities Act.
“To go in there and tell them that they next day after this change has happened that they are going to be raking in money from…it is lying” Said Robinson.
They were given three years by the city to meet those standards.
Construction began on a new entrance last year, while the restaurant was closed for two weeks for cleaning; bathroom re-construction came this past year.
“The bathroom was a little more of a challenge just because our bathrooms are small as it is, so we actually had to take out part of our waitress station.” Said Robinson.
Although construction may seem expensive for small family owned businesses like Mario’s, Robinson believes it is worth it.
“All handicap people shouldn’t feel like they are limited to like 5 places in town they can go to, they should be limited just the way everyone else is limited.” Said Robinson.
In order to be certified, area businesses need to go through a three tear inspection, which is usually done over a 3 year period. The first inspection, an inspector will make sure the business has accessible parking, and a way in. The Second level, the inspector will concentrate inside the business, inspecting restrooms, telephones, counters, and access routes throughout the business to make sure they are compliant. Although rare for many Dubuque businesses, some businesses need to have a third inspection on a second floor.
So far over 538 businesses are ADA certified in Dubuque.