When the Thousand Oaks City Council recently admonished the Red Onion restaurant to clean up its act or face possible revocation of its liquor license, newly appointed manager James Camuso listened.
He hired new security guards, met with police and consulted sound engineers about how to muffle the dance floor's raucous rock.
And this week, he returned to the City Council to plead for a little mercy--or at least a second chance.
"It seems like everything we read and everything we see (from the city) is like, 'Let's get Red Onion.' Well, we don't want it to be like that any more," Camuso said. "Instead of taking the attitude, 'Hey this is us, we do our business and forget you,' we want to work with the community."
City Council members praised Camuso for coming forward to detail his efforts to control crowds at the Red Onion. The restaurant, a popular hot spot, has come under fire for its rowdy "Over 18" nights and its loud music until 2 a.m. "I'm trying to see how I can cut the noise without hurting my business," Camuso said. "For some reason, in this kind of establishment, the noise has to be loud."
Camuso also said he added valet parking and extra security to eliminate loitering in the parking lot and that he would consider fencing his lot so the partying would not spill over into the neighboring Best Western Oaks Lodge.
The beefed-up security will cost $3,100 a month, according to a Red Onion memo presented to the City Council.
After listening to the restaurant's plans, officially termed a "Good Neighbor Program," Mayor Judy Lazar told Camuso, "I wish you the best of luck."