The Boston Licensing Board decides tomorrow whether to let the owner of Madras Dosa at 55 Boston Wharf Rd. extend its closing hours from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and to 3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
At a hearing this morning, owner Babu Koganti said his customers keep asking him to stay open later. He said late-night food, such as the crepe-like Indian dosas he sells, would prove perfect for an area full of both tourists and residents seeking something quick to eat later than the 10:30 p.m. that is the latest restaurants in the Seaport now tend to close their doors.
Although he has 14 seats, he said he expects most of his late-night customers would get their food to go - in the biodegradable wrapping he uses. He said he has approval from Cambridge for a 3 a.m. closing time at a Harvard Square outlet he is planning.
When Tom Menino first began pushing what he dubbed the Innovation District in 2010, he envisioned the former South Boston Waterfront as Boston's first 24/7 neighborhood, where hard-charging workers in what was then called biotech could unwind with colleagues at local restaurants and bars before walking home to their new condos or apartments.
But City Councilors Ed Flynn, who represents South Boston, and Michael Flaherty, who lives there, oppose the idea of early morning dosas.
"It's simply too late," Flynn's aide, Ana Calderon, said, citing what she said was concerns of neighbors that late-night take-out would exacerbate "existing quality of life issues" and raise public-safety concerns. Mary Karski, an aide to Flaherty, echoed Flynn's concerns that late-night dosa-ing "could cause issues."
The Mayor's Office of Neighborhood Services reported that no immediate neighbors showed up at an abutters meeting held in July.
A Fort Point Neighborhood Association member did attend the July meeting. At today's hearing, Tom Ready of the Fort Point Neighborhood Association said his group is not opposed to Koganti's proposal, that Koganti has agreed to work on any possible trash or noise issues and that BTD is amenable to changing two metered spaces in front of Madras Dosa to pick-up spaces for food deliverers.