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Andrew Square residents, officials oppose later hours at pizza place across from T stop

Andrew Square residents, the local police district and elected officials all oppose efforts by the owner of Red Line Pizza, on Dorchester Avenue across from the Andrew Square T stop, to legally stay open for pick-up pizza until 2 a.m., saying it's become a "magnet" that attracts the homeless, drug users and people looking for a fight in a neighborhood that already has quite enough of that - as well as a generator of rat-summoning trash.

At a Boston Licensing Board hearing this morning, however, attorney John Connell, representing owner Mohamed Mourad, said the place's problems are all behind it and that Mourad is getting unfairly blamed for problems he has nothing to do with - for example, Red Line shares an alley with other businesses that might be causing trash problems on the block.

But C-6 Sgt. Det. Carl Blando said officers responded to Red Line on a report of two drunk customers fighting inside the place at 1:25 a.m. on March 26 - just a month ago and nearly 2 1/2 hours after its current legal closing time for walk-in business of 11 p.m.

Andrew Square Civic Association President Linda Zablocki, spoke of "cans of pasta sauce that weren't even rinsed out" and equally unrinsed five-pound pizza pans just sitting in the alley.

Red Line Pizza currently has permission to stay open until 2 a.m. for pickup by Uber Eats and other home-delivery services. Connell and Mourad appeared before the board to ask for permission to let people walk in until 2 a.m. as well to pick up orders - Connell said the restaurant's seats would be roped off to keep pick-up patrons from trarrying.

"It's a natural place to get a late-night meal and bring it home," Connell said of its location across from the T stop, pointing to second-shift workers getting home after midnight - and the fact that he used to live in the area himself. He noted the Sports Connection has a 2 a.m. closing and that the board recently approved a similar closing time for the planned Small Victories tavern.

"We're not providing alcohol, we're not providing entertainment, we're selling cheeseburger subs," he said, adding that the extra revenue would help support not just Mourad, who came here as an immigrant from Egypt, but his eight employees.

"We're very committed to turn this around and make it a better operation," he said, adding he has worked closely with Mourad over the past eight months to do better.

But residents, City Councilors Ed Flynn and John FitzGerald and state Sen. Nick Collins were not having it.

Maria Bermudez, who lives nearby, said even just pickup business will attract more homeless people to the area and "magnify the unsafe environment we're currently experiencing." Other residents said they have seen no improvements in pizza-related trash in the area.

The Andrew Square Civic Association voted to oppose the later hours.

Zablocki said Red Line forms part of "the Andrew Square Bermuda triangle" along with the 7-Eleven and the T stop. She said the neighborhood has no problems with the Dunkin' or Sports Connection because they take care of business and clean up after themselves.

Blando said maybe if Red Line actually closed at its current official 11 p.m. time, he might, after awhile, be willing to give them a chance with a later closing time. But he said that police keep getting called to Red Line for fights and other problems, and "it's always after 11 p.m."

Licensing Board members, who suspended Red Line's license for a day last year for letting people in after 11 p.m., asked why the pizza place's Web site continues to show a 2 a.m. closing time - months after they first asked for it to be changed.

Connell said Red Line has tried to get that changed, but that Slice, the vendor it uses, has run into some sort of snag and simply hasn't been able to change that. However, somebody can: Last week, the site listed hours of operation as late as 2:45 a.m., but this morning, the site shows a closing time of 2 a.m.

The board could vote tomorrow on the request for a later closing time.



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we promise we won't lie to you this time.


Don't deserve to have social spaces? Sounds to me like the problem of two people having a fight was resolved with the intervention of a fixed-cost police service.

I like it better when societies race to the top instead of to the bottom.


The weak link in the safety triangle is Andrew Station.


Too bad owners not kissing the right rings to get to operate like some others do.


Sounds like the problem is the alcohol, not the pizza.