McDonald's says it will close Allston restaurant if city doesn't grant later closing time

The McDonald's at Harvard and Commonwealth avenues has became the latest battleground in a rapidly escalating war over restaurant closing hours in Allston.

Bob King, owner of the franchise, told the Boston Licensing Board today that McDonald's will make him shut the outlet unless he can increase sales - and the only way for him to do that, especially with a competing Kelly's opening up across the street, is to extend the current 11 p.m. closing time to 2 a.m.

The board decides tomorrow whether to grant the request. King originally sought 3 a.m.; over the past year, a number of Allston restaurants have sought board permission to open until 3 a.m.; the board has scaled all back.

The hearing at times became a debate over the way the Allston Civic Association conducts its meetings, with local business owners saying they were shouted down by association President Paul Berkeley when they tried to speak in favor of the extended hours. Berkeley, who opposes the later hours, apologized at the board hearing to one lawyer for cutting him off. The issue is important because the licensing board normally takes no action on a license request until after hearing from the local civic association.

King, who operates 24-hour McDonald's at South Station and in Saugus and Somerville, said that if nothing else, simple fairness dictates he should be allowed to open until at least 2 a.m. - the closing time the board gave Kelly's last year.

"We must be able to compete fairly with them to prevent us from being closed down," he said. "All we ask is to give us the opportunity to step to the plate and let us compete. We haven't and won't let Allston down." He said he would install security cameras and work closely with local police to ensure the restaurant continues its current unblemished record, and would hire eight to ten additional workers with the later hours.

Bob Weber, owner of Model Hardware and president of the Allston Board of Trade, said he's not necessarily in favor of early-morning hours for restaurants, but told the board it would be unfair to not let McDonald's be given the same chance as Kelly's and other restaurants. "McDonald's is one of the most benign things around," he said, adding it's also unfair to blame restaurants and other non-liquor-serving establishment for problems caused by local bars.

Pokaski retorted that the board has to balance business needs with "a right to the private enjoyment of your home. ... We also have to take into consideration the people who live around the premises. ... We're lucky enough to have a city people like to live in."

He said the board set no precedent by giving Kelly's the right to stay open until 2 a.m. because the board considers each case separately. Currently, restaurants along Harvard Avenue have closing times that range from midnight to 3 a.m.

Pokaski noted a letter in opposition to later hours at the McDonald's from District D-14 Capt. James Hussey. "Obviously, they want people to go home," he said. "They don't want people hanging around the Allston/Brighton area. ... What you don't want to see is people hanging around at 2, 2:30, 3 'oclock because they're eating a Big Mac, or sitting in their car eating a Big Mac."

Weber said he doubted a McDonald's would add all that much noise to an already crowded area - and that most of the people who live on or near Harvard Avenue are probably the sort of people who would appreciate another late-night dining option.

Joshua Krefetz, a local attorney who was speaking for himself, said that at the civic-association meeting every resident who lived near the restaurant and who spoke, spoke in favor. Only people who "live on the other side of the Mass. Pike" spoke against, he said. Krefetz said the confusing set of closing times mean D-14 officers have to use a spreadsheet to figure out which places can be open as they patrol the neighborhood.

Scott Matalon, owner of Stingray Body Art and vice president of Allston Village Main Streets, said inconsistent hours are "causing great problems" for local business groups trying to attract news businesses to the area. "We would like to see some consistency in closing hours," partly because of fairness, partly because people are simply safe inside a well lit restaurant or cafe than walking down a dark street. He didn't buy the argument that if every place shut at the same time, the result would be chaos in the streets of Allston, because Allston's the sort of place where that would have happened long ago no matter what, and it hasn't.

Berkeley, though, pointed to an early morning murder in February at Harvard and Brighton avenues as proof the last thing the neighborhood needs is later hours. Already, he said, "we're sort of the unwilling host of a big party every night." He did agree consistency is important, but that his group would want to see consistent closing hours earlier in the evening than 2 or 3 a.m.



Free tagging: 


Pokaski retorted that the

Pokaski retorted that the board has to balance business needs with "a right to the private enjoyment of your home.

Translation from Pokaski, "people have the right to enjoy the use of their home in the way that I deem fit. Those who might enjoy walking from their place of residence to a place of late night snacking are heathens!"

Common sense dictates that

Common sense dictates that more eyes on the street = less crime. But then again this is boston.

Let the McDonalds stay open. There is no reason any storefront on that strip should be forces to close before 1.

Seems like an open and shut

Seems like an open and shut case to me. If Kellys can stay open till 2am then McD's should be allowed the same closing time.This archaic city needs to step into this century if it wants young people to continue to populate it. As for the increase in violence, that's not McD's problem. That's a problem for the bars who over serve these hoodrats. That's a problem for the animals who can't go out on a Saturday night and have a good time without fighting. A city shouldn't be hindering businesses from growing because of safety. Later hours equals increased business, equals more employees working, bigger paychecks for them....see where this trickle down effect is going?

I've attended Allston Civic

I've attended Allston Civic Association meetings before. The behavior of the chair and the board members is absolutely shameful. They yell at presenters, call them liars, and the chair won't call on anyone he doesn't have in his pocket. They vote against anything that would bring economic development to Allston, for fear that it will attract young people. When neighborhood residents ask for voting rights, we are shoved away and ignored.

If members of the licensing board went to an ACA meeting, they'd understand why local businesses are so frustrated with these people.

what happened to Pizzeria Uno

what happened to Pizzeria Uno at the corner across from McDonalds? Were they having similar issues? If 3 of the 4 corners at Harvard and Comm ave go vacant within 18 months, that would be crazy.


Uno's isn't bankrupt in the

Uno's isn't bankrupt in the traditional sense. The company restructured their debt, and as a result, found it advantageous to declare chapter 11.
Allston (and the Porter store, which closed about three weeks before Allston) has been on the chopping block for about a year. It's just not a good location for one--So much competition in the area that's cheaper (and, to be honest, tastier).

The Tedeschi's next door is

The Tedeschi's next door is open 24 hours. I used to go there at 3 or 4am all the time as did many others. This isn't going to attract much more traffic than usual and it will stop people from going to that god awful Redneck's.

Yeah- just what Allston needs . .

. . . on the corner of Harvard and Comm- a Mac D's open to 2 or 3 AM to keep the street noise of drunken college kids going to the wee hours of the morning. No- there won't be any problems at this Mac D's selling happy meals at 2AM on a Thursday or Friday night to lines of inebriated youth. People actually live in Allston- who have jobs and lives and while this might be great for BC and BU students it isn't for the people who live there.

Believe it or not, but not

Believe it or not, but not all young people in the area = students. I graduated 2 years ago and live in Allston. I have a M-F, 9-5 and I still like to go out on Fridays and Saturdays. I'm sorry I am not at home playing board games and in bed by 8 on a Friday.

I won't give you the stereotypical response of "don't like it, then move", or "you should have expected this when you moved in", but this is my neighborhood too (yes I plan on sticking around, although my group seems to be hated so much I don't know why anyone would stick around this neighborhood) and I would prefer to have another late night dining option.

I'm with you

I really enjoyed this city when I was an undergrad, but now that I've graduated and am working a regular day job, I'm liking this city less and less. I graduated with every intention of putting down roots in Boston and staying here long term, but lately I've been thinking of moving back to DC (Yes, the city. No "Suburban kid moves to city, gets his kicks, flees back to safe little suburb" here. I like living in a city and being able to walk / bike / take public transportation everywhere I go). DC has public transportation that can get me home after a night out (I barely made the last T home 2 weeks ago after leaving the movies around midnight. Forget trying to stay downtown at a bar), food places that are open late or even - shudder - 24 hours, and seem to embrace newcomers and diversity.

Going out in Boston is like playing chess - you need to think 3 or 4 moves ahead. "Ok, I'm going to X bar/restaurant, and can be with my friends until 12:15, then rush to the T to avoid a $10 cab ride home, but I need to go to the corner store now so I have something to eat when I get home..."

It is a bit disappointing.

I rarely pull the all night rager in the city anymore, but it is a supreme pain in the ass when you are having fun to have to shut it down at 12:30 to beat the late night cab rush and get home, then figure out what the hell convenience style food you are going to pick up along the way in the taxi.

you make the same childish

you make the same childish comments in every thread relating to age, yet you never make an argument or even address the issue. Really shows YOUR maturity.

RE: the other commenter. I said i wouldn't make give the standard "move if you don't like it" excuse, but really? really? YOU LIVE IN A CITY. 1 IS A RESONABLE CLOSING TIME FOR THE CITY. MCDONALDS ISN'T A NIGHTCLUB/BAR THAT WILL BE BLARING MUSIC AND GETTING PEOPLE DRUNK!


see what i did there?


All these people who have

All these people who have lived in these neighborhoods for 30 years are whatever are not going to be around forever... These puritan rules and regulations are going to keep a lot of young people from settling down in this city. Without young blood taking up roots here you're going to have a lot of population turn over at best and population decline at worse. High turnover of the population is going to lead to high crime and general decay since no one is really going to call the city "home." (Take the "BU Getto" / Pratt street area as an example). Late night food, drink, and transportation will keep young people happy and engaged in the city. While it may be a nuisance, it does help promote a healthy urban life that supports the city's population and economy.


What a pesky nuisance for those special snowflakes that working adults require sleep at 2:30am on a Tuesday night thus stopping college students from getting their well-deserved late night Big Mac! Quick, summon the helicopter parents: this is an EMERGENCY! I WANT MY MOMMY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That's actually not true at all

This city and Allston-Brighton especially has a large medical community. Many of those that work for the many, many hospitals that employ over 50,000 employees, and also the large bio-tech crowd, work late shift hours. Not to mention all the hospitality workers and late-night staff for bars are restaurants. When it comes down to it, much of Boston doesn't follow the 9-5 model.

Pretty much the only district

Pretty much the only district that does is the Financial district. And you see businesses there accounting for it with 5PM closings and not opening on Sundays, since there's little demand.

Everywhere else in the city.... not so much. Especially commercial blocks tucked in residential areas that should and need to be open.

Hey trolling anon

It's a city.

Not all the adults work the nine to five. Then again you probably don't even live here.

Adam, whats with the influx of trolling anon's lately? I know the site got some added traffic with the Brownie teabagger invasion, but this consistent trolling is getting annoying.

Are you a moron?

What does that have to do with this discussion? I don't like entitled little (expletives) either, but the desire to eat at 2:30 AM does not infringe on your sleep, no matter how desperate you are to pick a fight about it.

Stop pretending; you don't work, anon

What a pesky nuisance for those special snowflakes that working adults require sleep at 2:30am on a Tuesday night thus stopping college students from getting their well-deserved late night Big Mac! Quick, summon the helicopter parents: this is an EMERGENCY! I WANT MY MOMMY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Let's not kid each other, anon. With posts like that, nobody believes that you have a job. Hope you enjoy posting this drivel from the darkened basement room in your grandmother's house.

On the other hand, there are those of us who DO actually work, and have the temerity to pay the inflated prices to live in this city. For us, the lack of late night dining, drinking, and transportation options are the weekly fly in the ointment.

Drop in the bucket

I'm the first person to completely lose his cool and flip out over loud students, but this is ground zero of the student ghetto we're talking about here. If you want peace and quiet along this stretch, you're going to have to wipe the slate clean and Government Center a five block radius. You'd have to get rid of the bars, every other restaurant and the disgusting apartments that I don't think would meet the building code in Kowloon Walled City.


I'm getting a great mental image of the daily life of a Kowloon Walled City building inspector. My guess is that he says the chinese equivalent of "you've gotta be shitting me" at least twice a day.

got a case of the vapors?

If residents like you didn't feel the need to pressure bars and establishments to have earlier and earlier closing times, I bet we'd see a reduction in these late night problems.

We all lose when every single bar dumps 100's of people onto the street a 1:30am after most of them have been binge drinking to play catch up. Let them stay open as late as they want to, and let them regulate who's too drunk to stay or not; that way the neighborhood doesn't get the rush of the boozehounds all at once.

See, that makes too much sense.

Disturbing section here.

"Pokaski noted a letter in opposition to later hours at the McDonald's from District D-14 Capt. James Hussey. "Obviously, they want people to go home," he said. "They don't want people hanging around the Allston/Brighton area. ... What you don't want to see is people hanging around at 2, 2:30, 3 'oclock because they're eating a Big Mac, or sitting in their car eating a Big Mac.""

Well if the cops want people to go home, I guess we should just shut down the city at midnight. Seriously, how about the cops work with the business owners so that they can make a living and provide a safe, desperately needed service (late night dining) to the public?


Just another reason to relax all closing times.

Although I think they were talking about the efforts to enforce which establishments are supposed to be closed and which are allowed to be opened; I'm guessing it was a little of that too.

Why the Police Captain probably said that.

Police leaders say things like that so they can focus manpower on more serious crimes around that time (after 2am) like sexual street assaults, armed robberies, domestic assaults, house and car break ins, and other serious crimes.

If you keep more places open in Allston, you will have more non-serious crimes for the police to respond to (noise complaints, intoxicated persons, loud parties, street disturbances, knocked over newspaper kiosks, destruction of property by drunk people etc.)

These Captains are responsible for keeping crime down in their districts. Its basically a fact that the later things stay open, the higher the crime rate, and there is less police to deal with each crime.

You don't need citations.

for things that are basically facts.

But I've lived it. The later places stay open, the later people stay out and the more people that hang around outside and wake people up. This leads to more police calls. I don't have the stats in front of me, but there are more police service calls for people being loud in the street in Lower Allston than there are in Brighton Center because the bars in Brighton Center close an hour earlier.

Thats why I used the word 'basically'

And it isn't research. It in the call logs. They are also my own personal experiences from being a police officer in that area for over 10 years and also knowing why Captains say things like that.

Why do you thing the Captain of a station wouldn't want places open later? It is based on stats and facts. I don't have them here.

I know where LA is.

It's only a few hundred yards or so from the McDonalds. I just used it as an example as a place that would still be effected by later hours, and the fact that there are a lot of bars there already. And I consider anything north of Brighton Ave to be Lower Allston. This is because of the good people of the Common Ground always trying to promote Lower Allston.

I've also lived in true Lower Allston on the other sided of Lincoln Ave. as well.

crowded agendas

Berkeley apologized to Krefetz, saying the meting had a crowded agenda that he was just trying to move along.

And who controls the agenda? Hmmm?

I hear this all the time at meetings. It's not the fault of people who have a right to speak at a meeting if YOU didn't schedule enough time or put too much in the agenda. Meet more frequently if there isn't enough time to discuss stuff.


WTF, Pokaski? Berkeley?

So, 1 guy who lives in the middle of a residential-only area of Allston gets pretty much carte blanche on how McDonalds operates at Harvard and Comm Ave among in the middle of a heavy commercial area?

Pokaski, work for ALL of us for a change. Give businesses on that stretch of Harvard and North Brighton later hours. Let people have options that don't close at midnight (like the damn T does). Damn, this stuff is just infuriating.

Good, let it close

The LIcensing Board should always give preference to locally-owned restaurants over national chains. Let the McDonald's clsoe and then another local restaurant can open in its place and be granted the late hours.

You mean like Kelly's?

Which isn't exactly locally based, either, if you define "local" as "Allston."

What about the fact that King is, in fact, a local business owner? One who employs local residents?

And it's not like the Deli King, much as I loved it in my Allston days, was doing great things for the neighborhood in its later years before it was replaced by the McDonald's.

Also, nobody's proposed anything for that location, so if it does close, you'd have two of the four corners of that intersection be occupied by vacant storefronts.

You forgot one

Between Deli King and McDonalds was a Boston Market/Boston Chicken (local-turned-national chain bought out by McDonalds). What about those, Ron? What happens when a locally-founded place grows too big for its britches and goes national? Toss it out on its nose?

There's nothing wrong with McDonalds taking that storefront. It's hardly like there's one-a-block around this part of the city or anything. There's plenty of local places and if those places can't compete with a national chain by beating it on quality alone, then they probably aren't worth going to anyways. b.good AND uBurger, both local burger joints, have opened locations within about a mile of that McDonalds AFTER it turned into a McDonalds, so it's not like it's strangling the local burger places.

In fact one of the most recent burger joints that closed in the area was a McDonalds, not a local joint, down Comm Ave right at BU campus where "Raisin' Cane's" (chicken finger joint) opened up instead.

Yeah, close it down.

It is monopolizing valuable space. There are absolutely no other vacant stores on that block, and we need to clear way for new stores and restaurants.

End sarcastic rant.

Seriously though, if that whole block was filled, I would be all for it, but lets focus of filling up what is currently empty before we start kicking current tenants out.

Not one to defend chain

Not one to defend chain stores, but this is one fight I see no need to start. That Mc'D's actually complements the choices you have in Allston and I see no reason to pick on them. There's plenty of other food choices, but very little "fast" food besides the local pizza joints. And as far as I know no plans from anyone to offer something similar.

threat is nonsense

Bob King's threat is a little strange. That McDonald's always seems to have plenty of business even with all the other cheap places to eat in Allston Village.

Hi gang: Lets stop the

Hi gang: Lets stop the squabling here. Can we all agree that the Boyne has the best burgers and fries and last call say about 3 am., and you cant beat the dance floor..........thats all for now..

Best place

Clyde, miss you on NNN!

Man, we do NOT need McD's open late in Allston. There are plenty of places for the drunks spilling out of bars to get into fights, throw up, and get arrested.

You people who support this, do you REALLY live on Harvard, Comm or Brighton?

Give me a damn break.


Listen to yourself, man. You

Listen to yourself, man. You LIVE on Harvard Av. Or Comm Av. Did you really expect peace and silence at night? I've lived in Brighton. I was smart enough to pick a fairly quiet side street. I didn't decide to live in the epicenter of the bar and traffic and drunk people universe. It's not like this hasn't been a late night destination part of town for the past 20 years.


I think what you meant to ask is do we really need drunks spilling out of bars? Or are you afraid of what the McDonald's meat turns into after midnight?

When I lived on Glenville I was rather annoyed that Natalie's and Rednecks were the only options, although I wouldn't have exactly preferred McDonald's. Why can't all restaurants be open as late as they want?

I currently live on Washington by the Castle Bar/Last Drop, and we have a few restaurants in the neighborhood open until 2am. I think Oak Square is a good model for a quiet and safe urban neighborhood.

If you are worried about crime, then worry about crime, not Big Macs.