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L Street could get an Italian restaurant that serves alcohol after all

Earlier this year, the Boston Licensing Board didn't grant a liquor license to developer Michael Norton's proposed Italian restaurant at L Street and Broadway in South Boston (and then rejected a Starbucks there).

Tomorrow, though, the board considers a request from the owner of Mirisola's, 200 L St., to serve beer and wine with his Italian food.

Guy Mirisola's attorney, Richard Lane, told the board at a hearing this morning that Mirisola's is just the sort of place the board should be granting a license to: A well established, locally owned restaurant that needs a little help - in the form of a beer-and-wine license - to keep up with the chains devouring South Boston.

"This is exactly the kind of guy you want to keep in business," a man who runs "the Italian version of Cheers," with food cooked by his relatives, who were born in Sicily, he said.

John Allison, the mayor's liaison to South Boston, said the mayor strongly supported the request. "There's a short of businesses serving what he is serving in the area," he said. Councilors Bill Linehan, Michael Flaherty and Annissa Essaibi-George also supported the bid.


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You can walk in there today and buy beer and wine from their case, and sit down and drink it and they will bring you cups. What is going on here?

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to deny a beer and wine license to Mirisola's, why exactly was Michael Norton denied a full liquor license for his proposed restaurant?

Is a carafe of wine that much safer than a gin and tonic?

Or is it a case of our asinine, arbitrary number of licenses at work again?

Or is it the right amount of money talking?

Marty is a strong supporter, eh? I guess we know the answer.

EDIT: Adam's link says Mayor Walsh, among others, did support the bid to receive one of the ten (!) city-wide licenses that were available to the many applicants. But, the answer could still be a combination of the above points.

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I believe. I don't even think he bothered w/a full liquor license.

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As you mentioned, he applied for one of the ten regular licenses that became available. As you might expect, there were far more than ten applicants. For whatever reasons, the board decided other restaurants made better cases for a "public need" and so they "deferred" a decision on his case (sort of like dismissing him without prejudice; if they'd voted to deny, that would make it much harder for him in the future).

He could have tried to buy a license on the open market, but that might run him $300,000 or more. He could have waited until this fall, when five more of these licenses became available, but that would mean several more months with no income from the space and no guarantee he'd get one of the five. So he went with Starbucks. And, well, lost with that as well.

So to answer your question, yeah, it has all to do with the cap on licenses in Boston. I've seen no evidence of any favoritism on the part of the board, but if you want to assume I wouldn't know favoritism if it punched me in the nose, or I'm just stupid or you're just conspiratorial, I'd still find it hard to believe that would be the reason Norton didn't get a license - he's been active in restaurant stuff in Boston for a long time (as a landlord), he was going to team up with Brian Poe, and his attorney, Kristen Scanlon, has been doing licensing stuff for some time.

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You can't make this stuff up.

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