William Graeter says he can't escape it — the sound penetrates every room in his house. It makes it impossible to sleep through the night — even after taking prescription sleeping drugs, he says, turning him into an anxious, irritable wreck.
The source of Graeter's torment? Sticky Rice, he says in a lawsuit filed in Richmond Circuit Court last month. Or, more specifically, Sticky Rice's sound system.
Graeter is suing the Main Street institution famous for its sushi, tater tots, cheap Pabst Blue Ribbon beer and creative theme nights. He's asking the court to issue an injunction requiring the restaurant to quiet down, which he asserts is what city zoning laws already require.
"If you deprive somebody of sleep, that's emotionally traumatic," he says. "The U.S. government uses loud music and noises as torture."
Graeter says he's talked with Sticky Rice's manager 20 to 30 times, and each time was promised the restaurant would turn down the music. "They kept waking me up anyway," says Graeter, who filed a similar suit in June 2011 against nearby deLux Diner & Lounge, which he says was even louder but since has closed.
In his suit against Sticky Rice, Graeter says he's been forced to seek refuge elsewhere to get a good night's sleep. Meanwhile, he says the noise has made it impossible to sell his house at market value or rent it out.
Graeter's house is across Main Street from Sticky Rice on South Addison Street. In the lawsuit, he says it's 40 yards from the restaurant, but that the sound is audible for a block in any direction.
Sticky Rice's owner named in the lawsuit, John Yamashita, has yet to file a formal response to the claim, which was lodged in Richmond Circuit Court.
When Style Weekly called the restaurant and asked to speak with Yamashita or a manager, an employee who answered the phone spoke with someone and then came back on the line. "I was told to say, 'No comment,' " she says.