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The city that always sleeps: Middle Eastern bakery proposed on busy Allston street across from a Dunk's, but neighbors don't want it open past 5 p.m.

Update: Approved, with a 9 p.m. closing time.

The Boston Licensing Board could decide tomorrow whether to approve a food-serving license for Middle Eastern-based Sofra Bakery, 210 North Harvard St. in Allston - directly across from a Dunkin' and around the corner from a Starbucks and a Swissbaker.

If approved, this would be the second Sofra, joining one in Cambridge.

At a hearing today, co-owners Gary Griffin and Anna Sortun said the new outlet would serve both sweet and savory items, along with coffee and other beverages. They said they would also move their kitchen to the new location because it's larger than the one in Cambridge. The location would have 32 seats indoors and 12 seats on a seasonal patio.

The two applied for a closing time of 9 p.m., although they said they would initially close at 5 p.m. and only extend the closing time if business warranted it.

One resident urged the board to make sure the place keeps to 5 p.m., though.

"5 is OK, I guess, but to go later than that might be a problem for us," she said. She said Swissbaker does little business after 5, anyway. She added another potential issue is noise from a freezer Sofra has proposed to put outside in its parking lot, next to one neighbor's property.

The Dunkin' is currently open until 9:30 p.m., according to the chain's Web site.

The Allston Civic Association supports the bakery, according to a liaison from the city's Office of Neighborhood Services.

Initially, the bakery will not be offering home delivery through third-party drivers. Griffin agreed with a request from board Chairwoman Kathleen Joyce that if that changes, Sofra file a formal plan with the board on how it will deal with any parking issues related to third-party pick up.



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and put the bakery there - it would improve the neighborhood.

Voting closed 51

… about a freezer and the noise they make next to his property, I think you’ve got the right idea.
86 Dunkin’s and get a bakery that possibly sells stuff that is edible and has some nutritional value and decent coffee.

Voting closed 20

The new Harvard building down the street—where people don't exactly keep bankers hours—is the market for this restaurant and it has to close at 5 because … reasons I guess?

100% on board with not offering app delivery and putting more 4000 lb vehicles on the street driving around 10 ounces of croissants or whatever.

The city should require that they use foot/bikes for delivery if they want to do delivery.

Voting closed 41

I've honestly put thought into starting up a small business that basically does ubereats/doordash style deliveries, but on a hyper-local scale using exclusively bicycles. There's so much damn space taken up by these multi-ton behemoths of machines solely used to shuffle lukewarm food from one location to another. I honestly think you could get faster delivery times and far less congestion if we replaced all those cars with (e)bikes.

But, I don't have access to venture capital and can't even begin to offer a price that's remotely competitive with UberEats/Doordash etc while also respecting the restaurants, workers, and restaurants. I fear a small minority of people would choose the slightly higher price to actually pay people with dignity :'(

Voting closed 33

If I were in your service area, I'd definitely use this.

Voting closed 7

Bicycle/foot delivery only April 1 - November 30.

I wouldn't ride my bike in the cold. No one should be forced to do so.

Voting closed 20

No such thing as bad weather, just unsuitable clothing.

Voting closed 40


Voting closed 12

No one should have to walk or bike around with a bunch of cars whose drivers are incentivized to double-park, park in bike lanes, run lights, etc, all to get food delivered faster.

If paid enough, I'm sure people would figure out how to walk or bike in colder weather. It's possible!

Voting closed 25

Their Freezer will be to loud! God Forbid the traffic on that road or the construction back behind ...

Its also diagonally across the street from a giant trader joes ...

On the plus side, this looks like a LOVELY way to get some delicious baked goods and go across to the park with the kids on a Saturday morning.

Voting closed 30

You buy a property next to a commercial lot and then the commercial lot has … commercial activity on it.

This is like the whiners in Hingham who bought next to an inactive rail line and then complained when they wanted to put trains there.

Voting closed 34

Public transportation has much more value for the common good than a freezer.

Voting closed 11

No, it's about irrational expectations, wanting to control things to your liking, and having the personal wealth to threaten legal action if you don't like something. I know I'm making assumptions about what comes next, but I agree with Ari's comment.

Voting closed 24

Especially if a level of noise is likely to infringe on your right, or desire in this case because of the zoning situation, to quiet enjoyment of your home?
It’s wrong that some folks have the economic means to fight stuff like this and others do not. But if I had the means, I’d do it. This is a for profit venture. If businesses want to exploit a community, they have to respect that community’s needs.
I do like the fact that this is a small local business. For now at least. So their needs are not without merit.

Voting closed 11

Love it when a neighbor talks crap to people putting their money and effort into building a business.

Swiss Bakers? Their hours are 7 to 2 on weekdays, 8 to 2 on weekends. Yeah no business after 5. No comparison.

Voting closed 22

Although I don't agree with neighbors who want non-alcohol-serving businesses to close at 10 or 11 pm or midnight, I at least understand that noise issues might motivate this request. But what purpose is served by requiring a 5 pm closing?

Voting closed 36

If I lived there, I’d want to be able to go there up to at least 7. Lots of people don’t get home from work before 5.

Voting closed 18

Adam - is it a significant number of neighbors who want a 5:00 closing, as the headline suggests? Reading the story is just sounds like one or two.

Voting closed 19