English and attorney Dennis Quilty today.This time, the celebrichef told the Boston Licensing Board, he really, really means it: Renovations to his fire-ravaged City Square restaurant are nearly complete and he could be ready to welcome diners again in January.
At a hearing this morning, he said he's so confident now he's begun assembling his restaurant staff. Just yesterday, upwards of 180 people stopped by Olives to apply for work, he told board Chairwoman Nicole Murati Ferrer (board member Suzanne Ianella recused herself; board member Milton Wright was absent).
The Licensing Board, which has had repeated quarterly visits from English at which he pleads to keep his liquor license as renovations continue and issues what in hindsight turn out to be wildly optimistic re-opening dates, didn't just take English's word: At the board's direction, Boston Police Lt. Stephen Meade made three visits to City Square over the past week. Each time, he said, he saw considerable construction activity in a restaurant that looks like it's nearing completion. This past Friday, he told the board, he saw a truck drop off what appeared to be deep fryers.
Jack Moriarity, an engineer hired by English, said he expects the last major step - an inspection of the restaurant's new fire prevention system - to happen sometime in early January. A fire shut the restaurant in May, 2010; wary fire officials refused to let English re-open without extensive upgrades to the old building.
The board is scheduled to vote Thursday on whether to give English another extension to allow him to re-open.