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Board won't approve longer hours for Newmarket Square kitchen for start-up chefs without a detailed security plan after hearing of fights and cooking round the clock

The Boston Licensing Board yesterday deferred action on a request from South Boston Bites, 94 Shirley St.in Roxbury, to extend its currently licensed hours of 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. after hearing some of the food entrepreneurs it was renting kitchens to were already cooking up stuff around the clock in a space where women have expressed fear of being in and neighbors were complaining of noise in the early morning.

Ryan Cupps and Kip Beach, who opened South Boston Bites last July for the Los Angeles-based CloudKitchens as a way to give ghost kitchens and budding food entrepreneurs a place to cook food for delivery, told the board they have hired a local security firm, New England Security, to get things under control - and even called police to evict a couple of their tenants who continued to work after 10 p.m.

They said they are seeking the extra hours because the people who now rent one of their 26 "kitchen suites" are increasingly being asked by their customers for earlier and later service - he pointed to nearby Boston Medical Center as an example - and said the extra revenue from those hours would help support businesses that already have a tough time surviving as it is.

April Edwards of Wingz and Tingz, who was renting one of the kitchens, said she was one of the people kicked out by police last week - but said that Cupps and Beach had assured her last July, when she signed a lease, that they had approval for 24-hour operaitons.

"They never told us that we were 10 to 10," Edwards said. "I come from a brick and mortar ... We've been in business for over 10 years, in several locations. We came there so we could be 24 hours. We sold our brick and mortar and were told by them it was 24 hour access. ... We paid them to do these things and it was all lies."

One man who identified himself in the Zoom meeting as a DoorDash driver said he regularly picks up orders there and has never seen South Boston Bites workers on site after 6 p.m. He added: "I've seen fights in that lobby, I've seen homeless people shack there regularly. I've almost gotten assaulted there two or three times ... I've seen females that are afraid to work there and have asked me to walk them to their cars. I'm just an average DoorDash driver, I can't even imagine what these operators are going through there."

Morgana Oliviera, owner of the Brazilian Taste Kitchen, spoke in support of expanded hours, saying she had, in fact, been cooking and offering food until 2 a.m. until the recent rollback of hours. "There is a really big demand for the later hours, lots of sales," she said.

Sue Sullivan of the Newmarket Square Business Improvement District said she found herself in a conundrum based on such reports, but said she and some business owners nearby have yet to see or hear problems and that, ultimately, she would like to see the board work with South Boston Bites to extend its hours, to help the people who rent its kitchen space take their businesses to the next level and hire more people.

She told the board that New England Security is "the gold standard" of local security firms, that it is the firm her district uses for its own 24-hour security patrols of Newmarket Square, which overlaps Mass and Cass.

She added that South Boston Bites might be unfairly getting tagged for noise complaints that should go to the adjoining City Fresh Foods, which prepares meals for students and seniors in Boston, and which she says operates around the clock.

Edwards, however, said that while City Fresh Foods starts up early in the morning, it is not a 24-hour operation.

Cupps and Beach are scheduled to meet with the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative on April 25 to address concerns from nearby residents.

Licensing board members had told them Wednesday they would not get a vote on their application at the board's Thursday meeting, where it normally decides requests.

"Some of the comments are a little bit concerning," board member Keeana Saxon told them. On Thursday, board members said they wanted a detailed written security plan from Cupps and Beach - and that they would schedule another hearing, possibly after the meeting with the neighborhood group.

Watch the Wednesday hearing:



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Boston safety hours are until 8pm

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It sure does

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Feel better about yourself?

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The next thing you know there will be outdoor dining in the North End.

Imagine the horror?

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