Sean Griffing, who co-owns Trade on Atlantic Avenue, is seeking city approval to open a new, high-end seafood place on Ring Road in the Prudential Center complex.
At a hearing before the Boston Licensing Board today, his attorney, Karen Simao said part of the public need for the proposed 117-seat restaurant is to quench the Back Bay's hunger for seafood since the closing of the Pru Legal earlier this year. "There is definitely that void in the neighborhood" - one that the Atlantic Fish Co. on Boylston simply can't fill, she said. She did not mention the Legal Seafood at Copley Place.
She added that the Back Bay, in addition to being constantly filled with tourists and existing residents, is seeing an influx of new residential units, whose occupants will result in an even larger cumulative hunger for the sea's bounty, served in a tony atmosphere.
Griffing needs board approval to buy the liquor license from the shuttered Melting Pot on Arlington Street, which apparently found the neighborhood did not have quite as unfulfilled a need for fondue.
In addition to the 117 seats inside, the restaurant, which went unnamed at today's hearing, would have 55 patio seats, Simao said.
The mayor's office and the offices of city councilors Bill Linehan, Steve Murphy, Michelle Wu and Michael Flaherty supported the proposal, as did two residents of the building in which the restaurant would be located.
However, Marvin Wool, a member of the Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay's Licensing and Building Use Committee, questioned whether NABB really decided not to consider the proposal because it's on the boundary of its service area, as Simao averred, and asked the board to defer any action until after more than a handful of the 1,200 residents in the Pru complex could get a better look at the proposal.
Wool pointed to the new Luke's Lobsters in the Pru complex and the Select Oyster Bar on Gloucester Street as evidence that "there's not a dearth of seafood" in the Back Bay.
Simao, who said she has been working on Pru-related restaurant business for a long time, objected to Wool's assertion that the leaders of his group decided not to consider the proposal in favor of a meeting for abutters - attended by roughly 15 people.
The board decides Thursday whether to approve the license transfer.