Joe Garufi, who has been trying to turn the former Hyde and the even more former Dottie's into a new Italian restaurant on Fairmount Avenue since 2014, said today he's only a few inspections away from opening.
Garufi had to appear before the Boston Licensing Board today to explain why it shouldn't take away the neighborhood-specific liquor license it granted him for Antonio's Bacaro in the fall of 2014.
Garufi, who owns Sofia's Grotto in Roslindale with his wife Sonia, said restoration had simply taken far longer than they expected, with "a lot more setbacks than I expected" in a space that had seen no major upgrades in 40 years. The work has included restoring the space's original tin ceilings, replacing the floorboards, installing all new kitchen, heating and air-conditioning equipment and bringing the restaurant's storefront back to its "1915 grandeur," he said.
"I'm building this place to stay for a long time," he said.
But he said he got the OK from plumbing inspectors two weeks ago and is scheduled for electrical and fire inspections on Wednesday. Optimistic he'll pass those, that would leave only the final walkthrough by the building and health inspectors before the restaurant can open.
In addition to the licensing citation, Garufi acknowledged pressure from both Mayor Walsh and City Councilor Tim McCarthy, who see the new restaurant as a key part of the revival of the commercial area along Fairmount Avenue and River Street.
The board decides Thursday whether to give Garufi more time to finish the work and open.