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Doyle's fate could be officially sealed tomorrow

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.

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Comments

I’ll be attending. Pass the popcorn.

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Voting closed 8

I don't think the board is in a position to save Doyle's. Even if they don't approve the license transfer (which is unlikely), there's always someone else ready to buy it.

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Voting closed 12

can we keep doyle's and get rid of the fireside tavern instead

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Voting closed 8

The fireside tavern is very quietly one of (if not THE) best bar in JP. Cheap drinks, friendly staff, jukebox, neighborhood feel, take-in food. It's got everything.

Doyle's was a terrible bar and a worse restaurant and has been totally forgettable for the last 2 decades (at least). If it weren't an "institution" it would have closed a very long time ago. Sure, I'll miss the Road Race, but that's about it.

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Voting closed 25

When the front door’s open and you walk by, that sour smell hits you. It’s a friendly place but it reeks.

Btw, its days are numbered too. Single story building with an adjacent parking lot across from the Forest Hills T station. Liquor license. Future development gold. Sad but true.

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Voting closed 0

Fireside has everything! Except for food, good beer, drinkable wine, ambiance, acceptance of credit cards etc. It's no Brendan Behan.

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was better before it changed hands in 2007.

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The owner of the property itself, Eddie Burke, also issued a statement basically asking people to butt out of trying to prevent the sale that he and his family want, in order to retire. That's certainly a retirement well-earned. It's time for people, especially some of the louder JP Progressives on social media, to respect these wishes and give up this fanciful notion that this restaurant should be somehow kept open because it hosted their political events. It's not your decision to make.

https://twitter.com/steveadamstweet/status/1174350210849484802

Note: the restaurant and liquor license are separately owned by his nephew Gerry.

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Voting closed 50

It's pretty arrogant to try and stop a restaurant from closing when the owner no longer wants to operate it. It's entirely possible (and likely) a restaurant broker has already tried and failed to find a buyer. Most restaurants are put up for sale quietly before they close.

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Voting closed 29

But that being said timing is everything.
And the Ikeaization of Washington St from Dudley to Forest Hills keeps on coming. I can respect an idea about retiring since the nephew is retiring right. Oh was it someone else.
Nothing else to see here.

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Voting closed 8

I recently moved to the Rockies and the same thing happened here - a guy owned a historical diner (in the 50s drive-in style) and had planned for 30 years to sell the property for residential development when he was ready to retire. As soon as he announced his plan, a few (very few) people reacted in disgust and signed a petition to make the building a historical landmark. Now the guy gets hardly anything and the building's future is as bleek as it's being torn down.

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Ok, only a couple:

if only a very few people signed the petition, how did they succeed in getting that place to be deemed a national landmark?

And if it became a national landmark, why did that building get torn down?

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I wish there was a way we could keep Doyles though.

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Voting closed 10

What investment? The current owner is a trust funder who is selling the business he inherited.

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So is the correct summary actually that Ed (building owner) wants to cash out which is why Gerry Jr (bar owner) is both selling his license and giving out quotes about how the market forced this move?

Assuming both are true, then the solution is for people to give Gerry Jr. the money he needs to buy out his uncle at market rates. Anything else is just performative nonsense. What's that? We're not all going to collectively give money to a guy to buy a building for 'community' reasons? Oh, ok then.

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Voting closed 20

Reading between the lines, sure seems like some family discord at play here. Not sure who is at fault. Maybe no one is and it’s just time for a good thing to come to an end. My favorite thing here though is when the same people call the mayor corrupt, but then want him to stop a private real estate transaction, as if that wouldn’t be the height of corruption except it serves their narrow interests in this instance.

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Voting closed 10

As much as I'll miss Doyles, they have every right to do with the business what they want.

However, those of us who live in JP &/or operate businesses here have an interest in not losing a liquor license from the neighborhood. This is more complicated than simply what happens to Doyles-- I'm all for an overhaul of booze licensing to make more available, period, which would undermine arguments against a business owner's decision to sell a license.

Ayanna Pressley fought to get more licenses to the neighborhoods, and it was a bruising battle that had to go through the state. She finally got a deal, and JP gets 5 new licenses a year for 3 years, ending this year. BUT, only 2 of those licenses are full liquor licenses.

OT, I don't know the current status of the Drinking Fountain's license. Has it been sold yet?

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Voting closed 23

I remember reading the Drinking Fountain's lic was sold to the Pink Taco, also opening in the Seaport.

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However, those of us who live in JP &/or operate businesses here have an interest in not losing a liquor license from the neighborhood. This is more complicated than simply what happens to Doyles-- I'm all for an overhaul of booze licensing to make more available, period, which would undermine arguments against a business owner's decision to sell a license.

It's the same for every outer neighborhood. Roslindale is in the same boat as is Hyde Park, West Roxbury, and so on. All have lost licenses to places downtown in recent years. There should be neighborhood licenses and the mayor and city council have pushed them to their credit, but our state legislators couldn't care less and they control this byzantine system. Ask your rep and senator why they are not moving on this. This should be an issue for every single Boston legislator next year come election-time. Demand reform.

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The point being that neighborhoods thrive when they have businesses within than that encourage people coming together. Im not saying that Doyle's has ro continue to exist, but as the system is now, JP (and all the non seaport neighborhoods) have fewer and fewer chances to get these businesses established due to the outdated laws set upon us by the state house. Doyle's cashed out becauses they can, because false scarcity has been created. The burbs dont deal with this nonsense. When you see a place has closed before it even has opened, look to the bureaucracy, look to the financial bar we put on the owners.

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Where do Muffy and Chad go after spin class? Sunday Brunch after Yoga disrupted by unimpeded capitalism. This shall not stand.

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The Save Doyles group stands for working to keep the business currently located at the corner of Washington and Williams st. as an affordable community oriented pub. We never said this meant Eddie needed to hold onto a property he wants to sell or for Gerry Jr. continue operating a business at a loss. We don't think its fanciful to appeal to Eddie to take into account the importance of this business to the community when deciding the sale of the property. We hope it will be to someone interested in operating a restaurant on that location. Most of us have been loyal customers and partners for many years. We know what this restaurant means to the community. Not every decision needs to be about achieving maximum profit, its time we start taking into account community impact as well. 1900+ people in our FB group are hoping for a Hail Mary, as the Herald put it and there is no shame in that.

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near my residence, which is why I bought a condo in the Seaport."

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Voting closed 49

the mayor's office...supported the proposed Davio's

Amusing.

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As part of the hearing, DiFilippo had to explain the "public need" for a liquor license at the proposed 400-seat restaurant.

What on earth would we do without another overpriced 400 seat steakhouse in Seaport. How can we go on like this.

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These government sponsored rent seeking monopolies should go the way of taxi medallions.

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Voting closed 12

Now there is absolutely no doubt that JP is the shittiest part of Boston. It’s as soulless as the seaport is.

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Sounds like a real dystopia down there with stores with the wrong stuff, etc...

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JP is not the shittiest part of Boston...yet. Although they are trying hard.

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