Proposed Charles Street Bistro Meets With Unfavorable Community Response

A new bistro poised to take over the basement level space at 89 Charles St., formerly occupied by Artu, has so far met with a less than enthusiastic response from the community.

Ono Bistro would offer “plates from countries inspired by all countries around the world,” with a focus on tapas dishes, according to the business plan presented at the Jan. 4 virtual meeting of the Beacon Hill Civic Association Zoning and Licensing Committee, and which can also be found on the BHCA website (  The proposed hours of operation are 7 a.m. to midnight, seven days a week, and the restaurant would offer a “30-minute lunch guarantee to serve the area’s office workers better.”

The restaurant’s management team comprises Danny Baez De Vasquez, described in the business plan as the “Mother, Secretary, Treasurer, and Beneficial Owner”; John Lawson, CEO; and Michael A. Dejesus, vice president and founder.

The 856 square-foot restaurant would have 30 seats inside, in addition to an outdoor patio, and intends to employ more than 40 people, according to its business plan. The restaurant would offer breakfast, lunch and dinner for dining in, as well as for delivery and takeout.

Menu entrees listed on Ono’s website ( include the Bistec (Beef Steak) comprising thin-cut marinated steak with green peppers, red peppers, and onions; Chuletas De Cerdo Frita, center-cut fried pork chops; and Pechuga a la Plancha, a boneless grilled chicken breast with light garlic and parsley sauce.

Fish entrees would include Salmon a la Plancha, grilled salmon with light garlic and parsley sauce; Chillo Entero al Gusto o Frito, a whole red snapper, fried or cooked in garlic, vinaigrette, creole, and cocoanut sauce; and Camarones en Salsa, shrimp cooked in garlic, vinaigrette, creole or coconut sauce.

Appetizers would include Ceviche de Camarones, shrimp marinated in lemon juice; Pastelitos de Pello, Res o Queso, chicken, beef, or cheese mini-patties; and Almejitas en Salsa Criolla o Ajo, mussels cooked in creole or garlic sauce.

Dessert offerings include sweet potato cake, carrot cake, and fruit tart, among other items.

At the Jan. 4 virtual Zoning and Licensing Committee meeting, neighbors in attendance raised a number of complaints and concerns with the business, said Tom Clemens, committee chair, at the Jan. 9 virtual monthly meeting of the BHCA board of directors.

Neighbors expressed a range of grievances with the business’s operations since the Ono team acquired the space in June of 2022, including the use of the alley, as well as impacts associated with ventilation work at the rear of the restaurant. Trash disposal and other areas of the business’s operation were also concerning to neighbors, as was the “financial stability” of the proprietors, who have been sued by landlords over unpaid back rent and are also apparently in arrears to other creditors, said Clemens.

Clemens also said to the best of his knowledge, the proprietors have not secured a Certificate of Occupancy from the city for the premises.

The applicant ultimately opted to defer their application with the Zoning and Licensing Committee to allow time to resolve problems with their neighbors, among other issues, said Clemens.

(The applicant was only seeking a Common Victualler (“CV”) License from the city at this time and wouldn’t serve any alcoholic beverages upon opening, but in their business plan, they also stated they are “pursuing the purchase of a beer, wine, and cordials license.)

The proposed Ono Bistro was also scheduled to be the subject of a virtual abutters meeting sponsored by the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services on Tuesday, Jan. 10.

A phone number for the business (617-932-7941) that appears on Ono’s website is out of service, while the website also listed Oct. 31 of last year as the targeted date for the restaurant’s grand opening.

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