Michael Norton, who has long owned buildings that house restaurants, wants to open one of his own: He's applied for a liquor license for vacant restaurant space in a building he renovated at East Broadway and L Street.
Norton, who is "Southie born and raised," his attorney assured the Boston Licensing Board this morning, wants to open a restaurant there with chefpreneur Brian Poe and area restaurant owner Gordon Wilcox - known for such places as Parish Cafe and the Rattlesnake Bar and Grill.
Norton is seeking one of the ten unlimited liquor licenses the licensing board gained the authority to issue this year. The board has already awarded some and could decide tomorrow which of the more than one dozen applicants still remaining gets one.
The proposed eatery, as yet unnamed, would "be a place to eat," rather than a place to watch big games on giant-screen TVs, Norton's attorney, Kristen Scanlon, told the board. South Boston, she said, already has its fill of sports bars, and that particular location could really benefit from a neighborhood gathering spot with the emphasis on food, she said.
Scanlon said that after a career as a restaurant landlord, both in Boston and in Washington DC, Norton wants to get more involved in the day-to-day operations of a restaurant.
She estimated it would take three to four months to open the restaurant - the space is fully remodeled but needs kitchen equipment and dining-room furnishings.
Mayor Walsh's office, along with city councilors Bill Linehan and Michael Flaherty, supported the license request. If the board does not award Norton one of the new licenses, he could try to buy one on the open market - for $300,000 or more.