The Boston Licensing Board tomorrow will likely decide whether to approve a Seaport restaurant's $450,000 purchase of the liquor license now held by the venerable Doyle's on Washington Street in Jamaica Plain.
Also tomorrow, the board is scheduled to consider a request by one of the owners of the neighboring Midway Cafe to buy out the other.
Steve DiFillippo, owner of the Davio's Italian-steakhouse chain, appeared before the board today to seek approval to buy Doyle's license so that he can open his newest outlet at 50 Liberty Dr.
As part of the hearing, DiFilippo had to explain the "public need" for a liquor license at the proposed 400-seat restaurant. "There are a lot of chain restaurants" in the Seaport now. True, Davio's itself now has ten restaurants, including in New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Irvine, but unlike the other chains, it's locally owned, he said. Also, he added, the Seaport doesn't currently have an Italian steakhouse.
At the start of the day's hearings, the board's executive secretary, Lesley Delaney Hawkins, cautioned that board hearings are only about the suitability of a proposed license holder at a new location, not issues related to the current license holder. Still, one Jamaica Plain resident attended and asked the board not to allow the license transfer because residents are currently organizing "trying to maintain liquor licenses in Jamaica Plain."
Both the mayor's office and City Councilor Ed Flynn supported the proposed Davio's, although an aide to Flynn asked that a proposed patio not be allowed to open past 10 p.m.
Two residents of 50 Liberty Dr. attended to support the restaurant as well, with one saying she was concerned about noise, given that she lives on the third floor of the building. "We want her happy" and will make sure to keep the noise down, DiFilippo said.
Separately, Jay Balerna, who has owned the Midway Cafe on Washington Street with his brother Dave since 1987, is seeking permission to buy out his brother and become the sole owner of the music venue. The move means the Midway will stay pretty much the same, since the other brother wanted to look at taking it in a different direction, Jay Balerna's lawyer told the board.
The Midway cafe hearing came right before the Doyle's one.