The Boston Licensing Board could decide tomorrow whether to let El Jefe's Taqueria extend the closing time of its outlet in Emerson College's Little Building at Boylston and Tremont streets from midnight to 2 a.m.
Among the supporters of the proposal: City Councilor Ed Flynn, who had fought the idea just two years ago. Even the Midtown-Park Plaza Neighborhood Association, which in 2020 opposed the proposal, urging the licensing board to think of the children, in the form of impressionable young Emerson students, supported El Jefe's plan this time around, albeit at a meeting at which a significant number of people still opposed late-night tacos in the heart of New England's largest city.
Unlike two years ago, El Jefe owner John Schall did not even mention hard-studying Emerson students needing a break from their scholastic work at 1:30 a.m. in his presentation today. Instead, he - and his permitting consultant, Chris Tracy - said tacos at 2 a.m. would serve the area's large number of nurses, police officers and firefighters getting off work late at night and needing something to eat before they hit the road to home.
Schall said he'd originally thought to press his luck and try for a 3 a.m. closing, but said he decided not to, not because there's no way in hell the licensing board in New England's sleepiest big city would approve something like that, but because he realized that could cause problems if hordes of well lubricated dancers from Theater District clubs descended on his place after they close at 2 a.m. and the last thing he wants to do is cause more problems for already stressed police.
New York Pizza across Tremont is open until 3 a.m. on weekends.
Schall added that the later hours would help support Emerson College - his rent is based in part on his sales - and local non-profit groups, such as Bridge Over Troubled Waters, which he supports financially.
And it would help his late night workers, he said. Currently, by the time they finish closing up and cleaning the place at the end of their shift, the T has stopped running, but with a 2 a.m. closing, he could offer them more time to get the restaurant ready for the next day's operations, which would get them to 5:30 a.m. or so, when the T starts running again.