The City that Always Sleeps: BU, BPD oppose tacos until 3 a.m. on Comm. Ave.
Update: 3 a.m. approved.
The Boston Licensing Board decides tomorrow whether to let El Jefe's Taqueria, 957 Commonwealth Ave., near Agganis Arena, extend its closing time from 1 a.m. to 3 a.m.
El Jefe's owner John Schall said the extra two hours would let him serve "inexpensive, nutritious meals" to BU students needing a break from their hours of studying and third-shift workers like cops, firefighters, nurses and garbage men. He submitted petitions signed by hundreds of BU students and third-shift workers in support of extended hours for the taqueria, which opened in March. An El Jefe's at Northeastern already has a 3 a.m. closing time; one at Emerson is open until 2. An El Jefe's across the river in Harvard Square is open until 4 a.m.
But Boston University Police Chief Kelly Nee and BPD District 14 Capt. Mark Harrington opposed an extra two hours of tacos.
Nee said there are no other places open that late in the BU area. "It's not in the fabric of the neighborhood that currently exists," she said.
She acknowledged that El Jefe has "been good neighbors," and that she could support a 2 a.m. closing, but that she would be concerned about the sort of business they'd get between 2 and 3.
"I can't say we've had any problems down there, but with the later time we could potentially have problems," Harrington said.
In January, when the Comm. Ave. El Jefe's first came before the board, with a request for a 4 a.m. closing, police and one licensing-board member said the were worried that people stumbling out of bars in Allston/Brighton - and beyond - would stream down Comm. Ave. and cause the sorts of problems large groups of people getting out of bars at 2 a.m. are wont to cause.
Schall, though, tried to wave away concerns that hordes of drunkards would descend on Comm. Ave. His customers, he said, are overwhelmingly sober students and workers, and he said it is unfair to let a few isolated drunks get "the power to stop all hundreds and hundred of people" who would benefit from later-night tacos.
Also seeking a 3 a.m. closing today was Turkish Lazuri Cafe, 487 Cambridge St., in Allston, which asked for permission to open between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m. for pickup by delivery drivers only. Nobody spoke in opposition to this proposal. The cafe says the later hours would let it serve a demand for food from local Harvard, BU, BC and Suffolk students.
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all of the objections are hand-waves
Seriously, if the opposition can't come up with anything better than what I'm reading here it should be a no-brainer to grant the new closing time. But I think businesses throughout the city ought to be able to be open 24/7 by default with restrictions only imposed if there's a demonstrated problem, clearly the opposite of the way things work around here.
There could always be “potential issues”
Maybe if there were more places open late in that area you could avoid issues like lines or crowds because people would have more options? If people want to work and eat late to serve students or people out late let them.
The city needs to stop pretending it is 1970 and some loud students may offend hard working folks living in Allston who need to be up at 7 AM. That hasn’t been the case for decades. How about having more patrols of the BU cops vs letting them just drink coffee and write tickets? Maybe landlords should be required to update windows to minimize noise?
What on earth is the concern about “drunkards” coming there between 2 and 3? The restaurant wants them there, so it isn’t about restaurant worker safety/convenience. And shouldn’t neighbors and cops WANT people who stay at bars until 2 to stop off and get some food so they’re hitting the sidewalk less drunk and they’re getting some nutrients?
What neighborhood? What neighbors?
Said this the last time El Jefe's hours came up and will say it every time after, if this turns out not to be the last time. Other than BU, there was no neighborhood opposition to this proposal because there is no neighborhood here. The closest non-college-owned residential unit is 350 feet away and across a street, a trolley line, and the other side of that street, and then behind a tire shop, and by that point you've crossed over into Brookline. The closest non-college-owned residential unit in Boston is 300 feet farther away than that. If not here, then where?
Who cares what the police want?
So what? We pay them to enforce the law, not dictate the hours of our stores and restaurants.
Period. Thanks for your testimony. They haven't created trouble with their current hours. Thus they're a candidate for extending their hours. Please continue keeping the city safe. If you get a lot of calls there in their new hours, be sure to let someone who can shorten their hours again know. Thanks.
If the pigs had it their way
If the pigs had it their way no business would be open at night so that they could nap in their cruiser all night instead of just some of the night. Their opinions on taco shops are worthless.
Pigs? Are you forever living in 1972?
Calling cops "pigs" is as timeless as White Christmas.
I'm sure having derogatory names for our veterans returning from overseas is equally as timeless.
It's all fun and games until you actually need the police for actual policing activity... and yeah, I recognize there are some major assholes and actual criminals who are police officers
Not in the fabric of the neighborhood?
Maybe if pinhead bureaucrats didn't dictate hours, we'd find that it very much is in the fabric of the neighborhood. And if not, then the businesses will ultimately scale back again. Of all the ridiculous reasons to oppose a later closing, this is the most ridiculous.
Why was BPD at the hearing?
Did Mr. Harrington provide statistics that suggest an eatery open this late would somehow increase crime in the area? Was Mr. Harrington providing evidence that a late night eatery does result in crime? Was there substance and monetarily worthwhile reason for his presence?
If not then was he there voluntarily? That is not receiving salary for that time?
If there was no substantive reason for his appearance, and he was paid by real estate taxes to appear for no substantive reason, then is there another reason to not interpret this as another method that BPD enjoys legal graft?
We're no Bethlehem
I find it funny that El Jefe's location in **checks notes** Bethlehem, Pa. is open until 3am, 7 nights a week. But Boston can't understand people eating food in the nighttime.
to be fair
You never know who's going to pop in late at night in Bethlehem. Steelworkers on the graveard shift, shepherds, travelers from the east bearing gifts, could be anyone....
I didn't realize their job description included being experts in the fabric of the neighborhood. Surely that means we should also involve them in zoning and development decisions /s