A riverside New Jersey restaurant has been suddenly shut down due to construction issues, jeopardizing dozens of wedding plans at the venue.
Battello in Newport now has a sign on the door reading “closed due to construction.”
Couples who had booked the venue say they received an email from the restaurant’s lawyer notifying them that Battello’s pier was unsafe and needed to be shut down for emergency renovation.
However, besides the email from the lawyer, fiancés Keith Rygiel and Lauren Bay, who are less than four months away from their big day, say they haven’t gotten any personal apology or explanation.
“I think that’s what upsets us most," Rygiel, the groom, said. "We’ve had zero communication from anyone from the restaurant—not our event planner, not the owner."
Wedding planner Danielle Rothweiler said Battello unnecessarily kept dozens of couples in the dark.
“I am struggling to find anything positive to say about how this has been handled,” Rothweiler said.
Battello maintains it did notify customers in a letter in May that some areas of the pier were deemed unsafe. They also said when the landlord informed them they would need to close on August 3, they immediately notified customers through a letter from their attorney.
They have also promised customers to provide them with full refunds and say they are working on reaching to customers directly to assist them.
But Rygiel and Bay have already sent out invitations for their dream wedding at the venue on Dec. 1 -- and they say Battello told them they'd be refunded $26,000, but they have yet to receive the money. Meanwhile, they're scrambling to make new plans.
“I have this vision of walking down the stairs of Battello on the dance floor with my family and friends," Bay said. "Now you gotta pick yourself up and put yourself someplace else because this vision is done.”
Now, couples not only need a new wedding location, they must reschedule DJs, photographers and their guests, as well. Rothweiler has been trying to help brides—some who have weddings this week—find new venues.
Luckily for Rygiel and Bay, they have found themselves another venue.
Battello told News 4 on Friday that their landlord, Newport Marine Holding, told them Thursday they would be required to shut down on September 15, and that "all access to the pier must be restricted immediately and that as of 5 p.m., there will be zero access to the pier and our restaurant."
“This is a shocking new development in an already devastating situation,” the statement said. “We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience and hope to resolve this matter as soon as possible…While we are deeply distraught, ensuring our guests and employees safety remains our number one priority.”
Newport Marine Holding said in a statement to News 4 that the latest routine inspection showed the pier "must be restricted effective immediately."
The landlord didn't respond to questions about whether any state or city inspectors examined the pier, and did not provide documentation of the structural problems their engineers found.