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Armenian, Azerbaijani, Georgian and Mediterranean restaurant approved in Allston

Keryan

The Boston Licensing Board today approved plans by the owner of a Watertown restaurant to move into the Linden Street space where a violence-plagued hip-hop club has sat closed for the past two years.

The board vote lets Jana Grill & Bar owner Suren Keryan (in photo, right) buy the liquor license the Russian Benevolent Society used before it was shut to open a larger version of his existing Jana restaurant in Watertown, one that will feature "Mediterranean" fare, but also dishes from Armenia, Georgian, Azerbaijan and Lebanon, his attorney, Mike Ross, said, adding the Watertown Jana will remain open.

The board voted after receiving assurances from both Ross and Russian Benevolent Society attorney Kurt Bletzer that neither the society nor its more prominent owner, Alex Matov, will have anything to do with the operations or ownership of the new restaurant. The state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission will also have to approve the transfer.

However, as part of his financing to turn the old club into a new restaurant, Keryan will pledge the liquor license to the society should he go out of business before he's paid off his loans. Also, through another LLC, Matov will be Keryan's landlord - in a building that Matov has approval to tear down to make way for a 349-unit apartment complex, although Matov said last fall those plans are on hold because of construction financing difficulties.

At a meeting today following a hearing on Keryan's plans for a 3,000-square-foot restaurant with 177 indoor seats and 80 on an outdoor patio, board members worried what might happen if, in a few years, and maybe with new board members, something happened to the restaurant and the society regained control of the liquor license.

They voted to add a note to their minutes of their meeting referring to their past, fairly voluminous records on shootings and related problems at the nightspot, either for new board members or as a reminder for themselves.

Board attorney Danny Green added that, in any case, the society could not simply re-open a nightclub should it regain control of the license - it would have to go through the same series of neighborhood meetings and board hearings to convince residents and the board it should be able to re-open at the location.

Allston Civic Association President Anthony D'Isidoro praised Keryan's plans for Linden Street, and also praised the board's diligence for helping to rid the neighborhood of this troublesome nightclub.

"We want a clean break, as clean a break as we can get from the prior proponent," he said.

Separately, the society and a trio of local hi-fi entrepreneurs remain embroiled in a legal battle over the end of their plans to turn the old space into an LGBTQ "quiet space" featuring hi-fi music at a volume low enough to allow conversations. The society had originally signed a deal with Sound Logic but is now suing them in Brighton Municipal Court over the rent that enterprise stopped paying. Sound Logic in turn is suing the society in Suffolk Superior Court over the reasons it says it stopped paying rent - including a leaky roof and an attempt to fix that problem by installing metal sheets under the roof that might have poured water right into the expensive audio equipment they were planning to install.

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Comments

from George to come to Boston!

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27

Yeesh, stupid typo fixed, thanks!

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21

…given that the peoples of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia have what I would delicately put as contempt for one another.

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12

Only in the USA could there be any sort of Armenian and Azerbaijani hybrid business

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24

FOOD ZONE HERE MAGOO COMES! Magoo is super stoked to get Magoo’s gums around some of this supes good yum yums. Magoo just popped a zingbopper Magoo is so stoked. Magoo.

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14

Finally, a place to get decent khachapuri in the city.

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16

Where does it say they will have decent khachapuri?

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13

The Watertown location sells khachapuri. I haven't tried it so I can't vouch for its decency, but it's a known entity and if they're going to explicitly include Georgia in their list of cuisines it seems unlikely they'd remove the popular eggy bread from that country.

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22

Excited for the resto but not excited to lose another opportunity for nightlife in the city.
Nightlife in Boston is dying through a series of these types of small cuts and conversions. Closing a nightclub is easy, convincing NIMBYs to open a new one is impossible.

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12

Will they serve drinks from the really old countries?