When Wilton Rangel looked at the front of his Broadway steakhouse, he determined it needed a bull.
So he had an six-foot white bull imported from Brazil at a cost of $5,000 and spent another $2,000 installing it on the platform in front of his restaurant, long-time favorite Oliveira’s Brazilian Steakhouse on Broadway.
It was a hit right from the start, he said, when he installed it about two months ago.
“You should see, I have about a thousand people on Facebook that like it,” he said. “Everybody likes it. My customers love it. People stop across the street and see the bull and come over and take pictures of it. City officials tell me they love it. Most people thought it was great. Only a few didn’t like it.”
Those few turned out to be some City officials, who determined that the Broadway bull was against City regulations.
Others weren’t too happy that the bull was fully anatomically correct, and found it embarrassing to look at.
It was a surprise to Rangel.
“In Brazil, you see these things a lot, especially at a steakhouse or a farm,” he said. “You have a lot of them here too. They have one in Manhattan on Wall Street and people come from all over the world to take a picture with the bull. There was a big bull on Rt. 1 at the Hilltop Steakhouse. They have a big orange dinosaur on Rt. 1 too. In 10 years, they probably won’t want to take this bull down. It will be part of history here too.”
But first, the bull has run into some horns.
On March 18, Inspectional Services Director Jim Soper sent a let to Rangel take down the bull or apply for a sign/billboard permit. They argued that it constituted an illegal business accessory sign, and he needed a permit.
“The Building Commissioner has determined that the replica of a bull mounted in front of the business establishment constitutes an advertisement of goods, products and serviced provided; therefore, the model meets the definition of a sign (in the City of Everett Signs and Billboard Ordinance)…The applicant must seek relief in the form of an appeal to the Zoning Board of Appeals to annul the action of the Building Commissioner within 30 days of this decision.”
Therefore, Rangel needed a date at the ZBA, a place he has been many times and found it to be difficult over the years as he has built his business.
Rangel has also had many run-ins with the License Board too, and Commissioners there have had epic battles with his expansions and activities over the years.
City officials said the ZBA would consider the application for the bull like any other before the board. On Monday, Rangel said his daughter – an architect and general contractor – put in an application for a hearing at the ZBA.
One City official already outraged by the bull is Councilor Michael McLaughlin.
“I was surprised to see such an object placed on Broadway,” he said. “I have supported this business publicly during their building project most recently. However, I strongly am against this bull. Wilton is a business owner who has given back to our community and doesn’t say ‘no’ when asked to volunteer. He has helped us grow our community. This all being said, I don’t support this bull and I would like to see it removed as soon as possible from its current location.”
One of the problems for McLaughlin and some others against the bull is the fact that it is anatomically correct, meaning its private parts are visible as would be on a real bull.
To solve that problem, Rangel said he plans to saw off any offensive parts if and when he gets the license. He said he just wants the bull to draw attention to his steakhouse, not offend his potential customers and the community due to its realistic display.
More than anything, though, he said he is ready to fight for the bull.
“At first, I wasn’t going to fight it; I was just going to take it down,” he said. “Then I thought about it. I spent a lot of money on it. Most everybody loves it and my customers love it. So, I’m going to fight it.”