Proposed Savin Hill wine and cheese shop: Needed service in gentrifying area or path to perdition?

THURSDAY UPDATE: The Licensing Board granted the request for a beer and wine license.

The Boston Licensing Board could vote Thursday whether to let a shuttered Vietnamese market on Dorchester Avenue be turned into an upscale shop selling everything a young professional could need for a dinner party - from wine and gourmet cheeses to self-service olive oil and home-made peanut butter.

At a hearing today, young professionals - and some older residents - supported Mateo Van's proposed Savin Hill Enterprise at 1047-1051 Dot. Ave. saying they are tired of having to drive to distant towns to get the sorts of supplies they need and that Savin Hill has changed enough to be able to support this sort of store.

Opponents, including the pastor of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church next door and a competing liquor store, however, said the area already has enough liquor stores and that adding one more would only turn the area into even more of a haven for drunks and prostitutes than it already is.

Van had originally sought a license to open a full-service liquor store, but his attorney, Carolyn Conway, said he reconsidered after strong opposition last year and changed the focus of the proposal to serve the burgeoning party and dinner needs of the young-professional and empty-nester market on "the west side of Dorchester Avenue." Conway said many of these new residents are "foodies who stay at home."

"There really is no market that service this niche," she said. Board Chairwoman Nicole Murati Ferrer suggested she was pouring it on a bit thick by declaring that people on the west side of Dot. Ave. wouldn't cross over to the east side to buy cheesy comestibles.

Robert Fuller, a Pearl Street resident and doctor in training at Boston Medical Center, said Van has already made the neighborhood better just by cleaning up the old market, which he said residents would cross the street to avoid just because of the rats. Fuller said he now has to drive to Somerville or even Hingham when he wants to stock up for a party and that he would love a shop he could walk to.

William Christopher, an architect and 40-year resident of the neighborhood, said the proposed shop would fit in nicely with "long-range plans of what Dorchester Avenue could become."

But Cornel Miller, pastor of the Waymark Seventh-Day Adventist Church at 1048 Dorchester Avenue, said there are already six liquor licenses for stores and restaurants within a three or four-block radius of the proposed store.

"That's a lot of liquor," he said. He tut-tutted people saying they have to drive far to get liquor because "we have to drive to get groceries in that community; to get in your car to get liquor is not a big deal."

He said problems with drunks and prostitutes are already so bad that the church recently chopped down trees out front to try to drive out the "drunks sleeping on the steps" of the church, and warned the problem would only get worse with even easier access to wine and beer, no matter how high end. He cited a state law that lets licensing boards ban liquor establishments within 500 feet of a church or school.

"It's just not kosher to have something that close to our establishment," he said. Seventh-Day Adventists do not believe in consuming alcohol.

Another opponent noted the presence of a sober house for women near the proposed location.

Mirosleidy Tejada, owner of Avenue Liquor, said there is no public need for the new shop because her store is already open. She said people who support the proposal "are obviously not drinkers, in my opinion," because if they were, they would already have visited her store and realized that not only does she already sell 100 craft beers, she has a signup sheet on which customers can suggest even more craft beers.



Free tagging: 


But it does take away

But it does take away business from already established businesses in the neighborhood. Businesses that have been here for years giving and donating to this community. Plus beside bread and cheese what is she offering that you can't get already at these other establishments. No one is stopping her from having an upscaled market. But she know that bread alone will not pay the rent. And what will stop her from eventually selling natural ice and ruble to pay the rent. Cause sorry to say but that is what sells in this neighborhood.

I'm very excited for this

I'm very excited for this place. Anybody here who says there is too much alcohol in the neighborhood doesn't appreciate craft beer like I and many others do. The owner of Avenue Liquors stating that they have 100 whopping different beers makes a point that probably wasn't intentional. I drive to Belmont currently to choose from the over 1,000 different beers and they still don't sell Domestics. Heck, they don't even carry much Sams or Harpoon. Hopefully this store will have a good selection so I won't have to drive half an hour to find good beer.


Ever heard of it? You know, free market, competition and all the good stuff? Why should everyone cater to some run-down corner liquor store owner who can't handle the competition and wants the whole neighborhood to remain ghetto, even though there's plenty of residents who would benefit from a more upscale establishment? Heck, if you want ghetto you don't have to go far - Meetinghouse Hill and Bowdoin/Geneva are only a few blocks away, and you won't have to worry about scary yuppie competitors showing up and driving you out of business any time soon. Pack up your crap, take your liquor license with you and move, you won't be missed. There's two other run-down liquor stores just like yours right around the corner, people won't even notice you're gone.


Capitalism is great but this

Capitalism is great but this neighborhood is already at its package store max! I'm not sure how long you've lived in your overpriced condo for but this area of Boston is not the ghetto! It is a hard working middle class neighborhood! It has ALL types of people which is what makes it unique.
These Liquor stores do well catering to everyone they don't discriminate! They are a fabric of our community they give back and are appreciated. You might find a more suitable lifestyle in the south end!


Fabric of our community?

A liquor store? If that's what you think you need to find a local AA group ASAP. As for local pickies, all three (Eagle, Avenue and Best) are run down, dirty, with poor selection, staffed by rude clerks, catering mostly to the lower income portion of the local population. If one (or all) of them gets driven out of business by a (hopefully) more upscale newcomer, great! A local place to pick up good beer and wine, and less winos loitering around as an added bonus. I'm sure most of the "middle class" residents you mentioned would take that over a run of the mill packie that specializes in cigs, nips, scratch tickets and natty ice any day of the week.


So you say that "wine and

So you say that "wine and beer" store is a fabric of the community? Sorry to break it to you but wine and beer are alcohol too, it is no different from a liquor store other than they don't have liquor. I don't see the difference. Oh, maybe it is different because they are going to throw in some cheese along with the winos lover. Also, you seem to distinguish like wine and cheese stores are for middle class and wealthy people and packies are low class then I guess for so many generations before wine and cheese stores exist, middle class and rich people never drank wine? Why all of a sudden they drink now? Lastly, you said that the clerks are all rude, how did you know that unless you shop there middle class patron! Wait, you shopped at a "packie," I have to change your status to low class, my mistake!

And you know this how?

How exactly do you know you're at the max amount of liquor stores possible? I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and say that you are, the neighborhood could not possibly support another liquor store. Well guess what, this is still a good thing for you. It will increase competition, lower prices, and probably eventually run one of the overcharging, underperforming stores out of biz. If by chance the neighborhood ends up not being interested in the gourmet products the new store is going to sell, it could very well be the store that goes under.

In reality, it's not your right, or mine to say a neighborhood doesn't "need" another liquor store, gas station, bank, restaurant, or bar.


okay Churchie, you wanna fight a business opening and have your say, give up your tax exempt status. Everyone else pays taxes and can have their say, you do not so you have virtual no voice. (and besides, if your parishioners are GOOD SDA's, they will refrain from drinking period)

Seriously, this church's opinion about a business near them as as important as what Chloe Kardashian is wearing today.

Sorry folks tired of churches interjecting their opinion in what other businesses can or cannot do. Enough already.


I don't think he meant it in

I don't think he meant it in the context that you are taking. He was just expressing what the situation is like right now in the neighborhood. He is just afraid of what could possibly happen if there is more alcohol places. After all, he is a pastor, give the man some respect for worrying about the future. He didn't say he don't like the gourmet part, he just doesn't like the alcohol part. He had bad experience with it and is dramatized by the idea just like the people in the area had bad experience with the old market that ran real dirty before this place was fixed. The people around there don't want the risk of something like that again, so anything will do there. Also, did you know that there is a gourmet wine and cheese store on Savin hill avenue called "Savin Supply?"


Wine and cheese shop for all the OTB yuppies or an empty storefront eyesore - hard choice, eh? Although, I'm sure the said yuppies would have preferred to see it in the currently empty building next to the T stop, not on the still gritty Dot ave.


Oh, Mr. Fuller, hingham

Oh, Mr. Fuller, hingham really?!! They must have out of this world cheese, wine and gourmet stuffs that other Boston place that is closer to dot that trader joes, whole food and other north end places don't have. Kind of exaggerating aren't you? I guess that is what happen when you lie.

Dot Ave

I for one would love to go to Dot Ave instead of driving to Milton Marketplace, or Fresh Market in Hingham every time I have an event! This type would not add to the problems of that area of the Ave, it will help improve the area.


You said that would have to

You said that would have to travel to Milton, wouldn't Liquor Land on Mass Ave be closer? It make no sense to travel that far. The place is less than 5 minutes drive and it is more than 4k square feet, i think they are big enough to carry all. Also, you said you want to keep it local, have you ever thought of asking the present liquor stores to bring in what you need? I don't think that they would say"no." They are small business catering to the neighborhood, why would they say no to your request? There are so many wines and beers out there, no one can possibly carry it all no matter how big the space is, even with thus new place coming. It is like, how are they to know you like steak and not chicken to eat unless you tell them? You want to improve the community but you don't tell the current business what you want so that they can accommodate to the needs so they can change with the community. They can't read your mind.

The woman who is objecting

The woman who is objecting wants to keep competition away from her business. If it were any good, the two shops would compliment each other. In my neighborhood there are three wine shops within several blocks of one another, each with its own niche. They all seem to do just fine.


Anyone who thinks that it

Anyone who thinks that it would really be a meat cheese and olive oil shop first before a package store is.....a little naive. I hate to break hearts hear but they are just giving lip service to get up and running. Once they get approved all that stuff will just get pushed in to the corner of the store somewhere!


If what you're saying is true

There are already too many package stores to compete with. If they think there's a niche for higher end liquor and comestibles, then they should go for it. But seriously--you write like an uneasy competitor. Don't worry--I'm sure there's room for both Boone Farm and Barbera on Dot Ave.

Trees, drunks and prostitutes

The thing that bothers me most is that they cut down trees. When I first moved to the area there were plenty of trees. Whether to convert back yards to parking lots or because the middle aged and older trees were inconvenient the area has been denuded of its already thin tree canopy. That this church contributed to the destruction of yet more trees is sad.

The head honcho of the church sounds like he doesn't like having drunks and prostitutes in the area. He should read his textbook (New Testament) carefully. Jesus had a prostitute as a friend and clearly had a thing for wine at Cana.


Churchs are bad for neighborhoods, it seems

He said problems with drunks and prostitutes are already so bad that the church recently chopped down trees out front to try to drive out the "drunks sleeping on the steps" of the church, and warned the problem would only get worse with even easier access to wine and beer, no matter how high end.

Sounds to me like the church is the one causing the drunks and prostitutes to loiter in the area. Perhaps this "pastor" should point his wagging finger at himself. Not to mention, the church is doing damage to the neighborhood by cutting down trees. What an asshole!

He cited a state law that lets licensing boards ban liquor establishments within 500 feet of a church or school.

Hello? That law was knocked down 30 years ago as unconstitutional. Get a clue, Cornel. Maybe take a tip or two from your supposed savior and stop bothering other people.

"It's just not kosher to have something that close to our establishment," he said. Seventh-Day Adventists do not believe in consuming alcohol.

Oh, now you're going to tell me what is and what is not kosher? What branch of Judaism is "Seventh-Day Adventist?"



I love self-service olive oil, who doesn't miss the days of full-service olive oil? The guy would come out and pump the oil himself - you wouldn't even have to get out of your car, and then he'd even clean the windshield at no extra cost. I miss those days.


From now on I got to make

From now on I got to make sure I mention which side of dorchester ave I lam crossing. There is west and east now. Hope they will make a new street sign to remind people so that people don't get lost. Oh, can someone tell me where the boundary line is going to be? So, family dollars is on west side must change their sign and up their price if they want to stay on the west side. People on the west side make sure you don't eat at Van Shabu, the same owner that is going to open this cheese shop until they move to the west side. Wouldn't want to drop your status.