We decided to visit the Casa Italian for dinner when our favourite restaurant (and the best in Kingston - Aqua Terra) was closed for renovations. The meal itself was reasonable (3/5 stars) but our evening was spoiled at the end when we advised our server that we would like to take the remaining 1/2 bottle of wine home. For those not from Ontario this was previously not possible until in 2007 the Liquor Licence Act was changed with the introduction of the "Take Home The Rest" Program which was designed to permit people to take home the remainder of unconsumed wine, purchased as part of a meal and to thereby reduce impaired driving. The ONLY requirement of the program is that the wine must be commercially purchased (i.e. not a homemade wine) and the establishment must "reseal" the wine = push the cork back into the bottle or screw the cap back on. There is NO OTHER REQUIREMENT to the program (see http://www.agco.on.ca/en/faqs/faqs_lla_changes.aspx)... no change to the licence is required, no additional costs for the establishment, no additional application, etc. etc. Participation in the program is entirely voluntary... but honestly, why would you deny a patron this option?? Instead, we were advised by the Manager (who either lied or was stupid) that 1) they didn't have the proper licence to permit this, 2) in order to get this licence it would cost them more money and 3) we should just drink the remainder of the wine before we drove home. In fact, at one point the Manager actually pointed to the bottle and said "There is only one thing I'm sure of... THAT bottle is not leaving this establishment!". Appalling. Totally appalling that in this era of "responsible alcohol consumption" this is the advice we would be given by an establishment potentially liable for the consequences had we overconsumed on site. This is the first restaurant in Kingston and in fact in Ontario in the last several years at which we have been denied this option. As noted, the program is voluntary, but given the near universal uptake of the "Take Home The Rest' Program, at a minimum I would expect an establishment that chooses NOT to participate in it... to advise its patrons accordingly, or at the very least to be educated to a law which is now several years old and hopefully to be able to provide a better justification to not participating other than being surly and stubborn. The only silver lining to our very frustrating experience was that we had purchased a relatively inexpensive bottle of wine. Given the very bad treatment we received, I will certainly never darken the door of this restaurant again.
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