State rep demands revocation of liquor license for Back Bay restaurant that's sat unopened for more than a decade
Restaurant owner Joe Cimino asked the Boston Licensing Board today for six to nine more months to get his Saratoga restaurant at 41 Fairfield open, but state Rep. Marty Walz told the board enough's enough and it's time to let somebody else have a crack at the restaurant's license.
Walz said it's unfortunate Cimino has run into a never-ending series of problems related to the building's age, historic nature and simple existence in the Back Bay - from wiring to handicap access to groundwater concerns - but said the six years he's had, coupled with the six years she says the previous owner didn't use the license, has exhausted the neighborhood's and the board's patience.
The city has only a limited number of liquor licenses to dole out - and the board has an informal policy of limiting the number of licenses in the Back Bay in accord with the wishes of the Back Bay Neighborhood Association. "We could be putting people to work" by giving somebody else the potentially lucrative license, she said.
The board decides Thursday whether to revoke Cimino's license for both the Fairfield Street license and one for Ciao Bella in the same building, around the corner on Newbury Street. Walz did not object to an extension for that restaurant. In March, the board revoked the liquor license for a restaurant at 45 Province St. downtown that had gone unused for a little more than two years.
Cimino and his lawyer, Karen Simao, said that in addition to problems related to the building itself, they've also run into scheduling issues because contractors will take on other work while waiting for other contractors to finish work at the site. Cimino gave as an example electricians who have to wait for masons to finish particular work. The city is also now demanding Cimino install an elevator to the building's second floor for disabled people.
While Cimino figuratively threw up his hands in frustration, board Chairwoman Nicole Murati Ferrer suggested he find new contractors who will not simply walk away for weeks at a time.
Although Cimino said he has all the permits he needs from a phone book's worth of city agencies, Walz said approval from the Back Bay Architectural Board expired several years ago and that he needs new permission from a trust that deals with groundwater preservation in the Back Bay and the South End.
Simao objected to Walz's assertions saying that she was not a member of any of the boards and could not speak for them. She added Cimino and his structural engineer would gladly give Walz a tour to show her the problems they keep running into.
Ferrer said the board had made its own inquiries of those boards, without saying what the answers were. Board member Suzanne Ianella said that was news to her.
While the board let Walz detail her reasons for opposing a license extension, the board politely told a representative from City Councilor Steve Murphy's office they didn't want to hear his reasons for supporting another license extension because he had nothing directly relevant to say about the construction delays.
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Is Marty Walz a moron?
"Let somebody else have a crack at the license?" How about you change the law that limits the licenses, SINCE YOU HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO MAKE AND CHANGE LAWS, YOU HORSE'S ASS?
Not gonna happen
The last time the legislature agreed to increase the number of liquor licenses in Boston, it was largely due to the work of Dianne Wilkerson. Yeah, her. And, yeah, it was that effort that figured oh so prominently in the FBI investigation.
What would be interesting to follow, though, is whether the current licensing board would continue to go along with past practice and refuse to let "new" liquor licenses into the Back Bay. In the past, the board has basically gone along with the Back Bay Neighborhood's Association current position that the total number of liquor licenses in the 'hood not increase over whatever it is now.
Why such a big deal about liquor licences?
In most other parts of the country there isn't this huge hoorah about liquor licences. If you want a license and have a business you pay the fee, get inspected, and bam you have a licence. Hell most grocery stores sell all types of liquor, why is Boston/MA so behind the times?(And don't tell me blue laws, because those can change.) If there were more bars with more liquor licences, I bet it might be a little cheeper for someone to go out and have a good time around here. Hell all the college students wouldn't immediately run away to a friendlier city after getting their degree.
..a lack of cheap places to drink is what sends our young talent away.
It's not helping
We're not having a race to the bottom here. This is Boston. We should be trying to win, not trying to not lose.
A race to the bottom?
Cause we'd be doing pretty well then...
City on a Hill
one word--Puritanism--it's what made this country great once until the 21 Amendment took it all downhill...
Of course that's not the only
Of course that's not the only reason. But you add that in, with lack of late night transportation, lack of interesting night life due to very little competition of bars, and a high cost of living, young people are going to flee. If Boston was a cool place to live for young people they would stick out the high cost of living. Young people often go to other cities with just as high cost of living, but there is just more for young people to do in these cities.
An increase in liquor licenses doesn't automatically equal more people drinking, or people drinking more. It's a basic case of supply and demand. If you increase the "supply" of alcohol (or access to it), but not demand (ie; increase population in the city), then successful bars will succeed, poorly run/overpriced/crappy bars will fail. That's why everyone complains about the liquor license process...until they get one, then it's a golden ticket!
...and Olives remains unopened.
Cimino should have hired whatever lawyer Todd English has that's kept Olives closed for renovations forever, at 90 days at a time, while sitting on its "lucrative liquor license" as well as its valet spots.
One has to wonder if his lawyer isn't of the law firm Franklin, Franklin & Franklin LLC (the C stands for CHA-CHING!).
Same law firm
English is repped by Dennis Quilty, of McDermott, Quilty and Miller, LLP.
Simao is a partner in the firm, and a regular at licensing-board hearings herself.
I gotta wonder how they're able to convince the board for English but not for this poor bastard.
I stand by my second statement.
Well, it's been 10 years
and the license hasn't been revoked yet, so sounds like Quilty's done just fine by this guy. This Quilty firm has some kind of corrupt relationship with the Licensing Board, right? I seem to remember a Globe story about them awhile back. "Miracle workers", as they say- just like those gold-plated DUI guys who are good friends of all the judges.
Olives had a fire
That might make a difference. They aren't closed due to poorly planned renovation schedules.
Doesn't mean they aren't milking their business recovery insurance while the recession rages on ... but it might make them a more sympathetic case.
Lots of restaurants have "fires".