Villa Mexico Café to Make Its Case to Zoning Board of Appeals for Proposed Move to 12 Grove Street

After deferring their March 24 hearing with the city in an effort to gain more community support, the owners of Villa Mexico Café are again scheduled to appear before the Zoning Board of Appeals on Tuesday, May 8, as they seek the zoning relief necessary for the business to relocate to 12 Grove St.

Julie King and her daughter, Betsy, intend to move the small take-out restaurant from its current location in Grampy’s gas station at 296 Cambridge St. to a residential district between Cambridge and Phillips streets. While commercial uses are forbidden in residential districts, the proposed storefront was last home to a barbershop, but its legal non-conforming commercial use lapsed after two years of non-use.

Julie King told the Times she expects the city would look favorably upon their request at the upcoming zoning hearing.

“My expectation is we’ll get the permit because we’re covering everything the law requires,” Julie King said. “The place already had commercial permits. We’re just changing it to a take-out restaurant.”

Julie King said the landlords of 12 Grove St. have offered Villa Mexico Café an agreement that would allow the business to continue serving the Hill, since developers plan to raze Grampy’s to make way for a new building.

“[The landlords] gave me an extremely good opportunity, and that’s why I insist on this place,” Julie King said.

Meanwhile, Suzanne Besser, executive director of the Beacon Hill Civic Association, suggested a food truck as another option for Villa Mexico Café.

“We believe a good alternative for them would be to operate a food truck,” Besser said. “[Food trucks] are very popular in Boston these days, and it would be very appropriate to have one located near MGH, where a great deal of their customers are.”

Julie King responded that they had already explored the idea, but the $60,000 cost of the truck alone made it an unattainable goal.

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