Todd English runs into more problems reopening Olives, but this time says first seating is just days away

When Todd English appeared before the Boston Licensing Board in December, he said he expected to be serving food at his long shuttered Charlestown restaurant sometime in January.

Today, English, his lawyer and his construction engineer appeared before the board to explain why Olives still isn't open. The problem, they said, is that while the restaurant itself now passes muster with the Fire Department, the City Square building it's in did not.

It took five weeks to rehab the building's fire-alarm and sprinkler systems, in part because the sprinklers are so old replacements for some busted valves needed to be hand made. But now, those systems will pass Fire Department tests and inspection and all that's left is to formally apply for occupancy and place-of-assembly permits, they said, adding the expect to file the applications for those within a few days.

With a new kitchen and new tables and seats in place, those last permits are all that stand in the way of a re-opening, they said.

Olives has been shut since a fire in May, 2010. The board votes on Thursday - as it has done several times since then - whether to give English more time to re-open and begin re-using his valuable liquor license. Board member Suzanne Ianella recused herself from the vote.

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