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Rally Planned to Protest Closure of Papasito

MANHATTAN — A group of restaurant owners is planning a rally Thursday to protest the NYPD's closure of the Upper West Side location of Papasito following neighborhood complaints.

The restaurant was shut down earlier this week after allegedly selling alcohol to minors, according to a document posted on the front door of the 2728 Broadway storefront, at West 105th Street. The move came after months of complaints by residents concerned about noise and other late-night disturbances.

Similar complaints have been lodged against Papasito's Upper Manhattan location.

The Northern Manhattan Restaurant and Lounge Association plans to hold a rally at 10 a.m. in front of Police Plaza protesting what they say is unfair treatment of establishments like Papasito at the hands of the NYPD.

"We believe that the intention of the NYPD is not to stop minors from being served alcohol, but instead to padlock a small business and fine them thousands of dollars," Fernando Mateo, the group's spokesman, said in a statement.

"[T]he NYPD Vice Squad are acting like thugs and bullies against men and women who have risked their lives and invested their life savings to open small businesses and create jobs within the city."

Mateo has been an outspoken defender of Papasito. Last year, he accused some Upper West Side residents of fabricating complaints against the restaurant.

It was not immediately clear when, if ever, the Upper West Side location of Papasito would reopen.