Deal in works to get City Square a new high-end, English-free restaurant

Todd English's lawyer says his client's getting ready to hand the Olives liquor license over to his former landlord to settle the rent dispute that shut the eatery in June.

Landlord William Carey, who says English owes him more than $780,000 in back rent and interest on the 10 City Square location, seized Olives - including its liquor license.

English's lawyer, Dennis Quilty, told the Boston Licensing Board this morning that a settlement of the suit - which would involve the handover of the license - is imminent. "I'm hopeful of it happening any day now," he said. Although he does not represent Carey, he said Carey will use the license to attract a new restaurateur to the location.

Quilty and a representative from English's holding company appeared before the board to answer a police citation for suddenly closing the restaurant without notifying the board. Quilty apologized for that, said it was not something English would have preferred, but asked for time to conclude the license transfer. Liquor license holders are supposed to either use their licenses or sell them. Because of a state-imposed limit on the number of licenses in Boston, all-alcohol license can now fetch up to $300,000 on the open market.

Quilty noted all the money English poured into renovations and repairs during the two years Olives was closed after the 2012 fire. "It's unfortunate," he said. "It was a beautiful job."

After Carey seized Olives, English issued a press release claiming he had outgrown Charlestown and that he would open a new Olives somewhere else in the Boston area.

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Comments

With every new story that

With every new story that comes out, Todd English appears to be more and more of a complete sleazeball.

His restaurants aren't even that great. I never understood what the big deal was about his "empire". He was lucky enough to ride the initial wave of celebrity chefdom, but wasn't able to back it up with any actual talent or business savvy.

Olives was good in its day

As was Anthony's and a host of other restaurants - but time moves on and restaurants at that end of the taste/price spectrum are a fashion business - evolve or die and English's restaurants are choosing the latter strategy.

There was a time my wife would ask me where I'd like to eat for my birthday - and the answer was Olive's which can probably be credited with beginning the foodie boom in Boston. Today there are any number of better choices - for my money it's Clio if purely for the food or Del Frisco's for a beefy steak and the view.

I do wonder if that location can make it as a restaurant - when it was the "Place du Jour" people would head over there - but you need to have something to attract people across the bridge. The corner restaurant across the street has struggled with multiple incarnations for years.

Re: Can that location make it as a restaurant?

I would think the yuppie (can we still call people that?) population in Charlestown would alone be enough to support a good restaurant. It may just be a neighborhood place or when it gets some publicity, a place where people do go for if nothing else a change of scene. (Only so much North End/South End/Whatever-Ho district that a diner can take).As long as it has a bar they are going to get business. There's lots of nice little streets to walk around in that area along with the Monument area. I don't think there's a problem with street crime.
The parking may be tough but IIRC they had valet parking.

I ate at Olives twice years

I ate at Olives twice years ago. The flavors were delicious, but the food was overly salty and oily. Definitely not worth the prices charged in my opinion. However, many thought differently since there was usually a line of well-heeled people waiting to get in.

So, now you need

to notify the Boston Licensing Board if you want to close a business. Incredible!

And real smart use of police resoruces. Hey, Olives decided to shut down. Let's slap them with a citation.

It's time to eliminate this wasterful and utterly pointless bureauracy now.

You need to notify the Board

You need to notify the Board if you are no longer using your liquor license. If you close your business without requesting to transfer or sell your license then you are in violation of the rules. This prevents owners from hoarding licenses and further inflating their value.

So yeah, it is smart to cite owners who agree to rules and then willfully violate them. Even playing field, etc, etc. Reserve your outrage for English and his trail of unpaid bills and ordinance violations.

Totally agree about English's behavior

However, here's a much simpler solution to the issue about the "hoarding" of the liquor license.

If you choose to close your business, your license automatically becomes invalid and reverts to the City. And it doesn't becone valid again until the City reissues it. None of this, well I'll sell it to X and make a huge windfall.

No need for the police to issue citations, and no need for the Licensing Board to summon the owner (or their high priced lawyers)to a public hearing. And life in Boston will go on just fine.

And it'd be a win-win

Because such a rule would not only discourage business owners from closing for renovations/reorgs/re-boots, but if they did, then crabby patties like you could moan and groan about some arbitrary and despotic city government employee making the decision to take a private citizen's property without any due process!

Anons are such deep thinkers!

If you claim that a liquor license is private property

even though it is issued by the City, then logic dictates that the owner of said property should be allowed to sit on it if they like without any interference from the City.

Yet, we have the City's police force wasting time issuing citations to businesses that choose to do what they want. And we have the City's Licensing Board harassing business owners, by forcing them to needless and wasteful public "hearings" for sitting on said private property, even if it's only because they have shut down to rehab or update their premises.