DeLuca’s Market’s hopes of offering offer table service at its Charles Street location were dashed on Oct. 28 when the Boston Licensing Board voted to deny their application without prejudice during a virtual hearing.
The business, which has an all-alcohol “off-premises” license, was seeking an “on premises” beer-and-wine license from the city, which would have allowed them to offer beer and wine in conjunction with its existing 20-seat Common Victualler (CV) License. If their application had been approved, table service would be offered from noon to 9 p.m., daily, with beer and wine served only with menu items, including the sandwiches, specialty cheeses, and charcuterie boards that the market already sells, according to Virgil Aiello, the market’s owner.
Seated dining would have been offered at four tables located near the existing self-serve coffee machines on the right-hand side of the store while facing the building, Aiello previously stated.
In denying the application, Boston Licensing Board Chair Kathleen Joyce said the board doesn’t see the public need for the expanded services DeLuca’s had intended to provide, nor had the applicant established the public need for expanded services at this location. But if the applicant returned with a different business concept after further community process, it could perhaps be “something we might be open to in the future,” added Joyce.
Following the Licensing Board’s determination, Aiello wrote in an email, “DeLuca’s understands that obtaining licensing is a process and appreciates the input and care provided by the members of the Beacon Hill Civic Association and at the same time extends once again it’s heartfelt appreciation to the over 500 neighbors who enthusiastically signed in support of DeLuca’s request.”
During a virtual July 14 abutters meeting, most of the around 25 abutters and neighbors on hand were strongly opposed granting DeLuca’s the license, citing a long history of troublesome incidents involving the operation of the business, such as its temporary closure by the city’s Board of Health approximately four or five years ago after for violations, which Aiello said included the storing food at improper temperatures and unsanitary conditions in the kitchen sink, among other violations.
Subsequently, at an Aug. 4 meeting on DeLuca’s application sponsored by the BHCA Zoning and Licensing Committee. Molly Griffin, the city’s neighborhood liaison to Beacon Hill, said the city had also received 13 letters regarding the proposal – three in support, one of non-opposition, and nine opposing, with critics of the plan citing health-code violations, frequent improper storage of trash, and the proposed addition of an outdoor table amid already congested sidewalk conditions, among other concerns.