Tapas Restaurant Now Poised To Open in Former Artu Space on Charles Street

A proposed tapas restaurant known as Nite Lite Café is now poised to open in the space previously occupied by Artu at 89 Charles St., according to Tom Clemens, co-chair of the Beacon Hill Civic Association Zoning and Licensing Committee.

The applicant, who is seeking the transfer of an on-premises wine, malt, and cordials license to the proposed location, came before the committee at its virtual June 7 meeting.  The committee opted not to oppose the applicant’s request by a vote of 9-2-2, said Clemens during the BHCA board’s meeting on Monday, June 12, at 74 Joy St.; the board subsequently voted to ratify the committee’s determination on this application by a vote of 15-0-1.

Nite Light Café’s menu would offer smaller, high-quality tapas plates, several of which would comprise a meal, said Clemens., and would be a “reservation-oriented” establishment, with no plans for takeout or delivery options. Alcoholic beverages would only be served to patrons who order food, he added.

The proposed restaurant would seat 34 patrons inside, with no standing room, said Clemens, and has no plans for outdoor seating on the rear patio or on the sidewalk.

In addition to agreeing to enter into a good neighbor agreement with the BHCA, the applicant also agreed to close at 11 p.m. on Sunday through Thursday and at midnight on Friday and Saturday, said Clemens. (The proposed restaurant is permitted a 1 a.m. closing time per the terms of its license.)

The registered agent on file for Nite Lite Café LLC is North End restaurateur Gennaro Riccio.

Another restaurant that would have focused on tapas dishes and offered fare from around the world called Ono Bistro had previously intended to open at 89 Charles St. But that applicant subsequently withdrew their plans earlier this year after facing intense scrutiny from the community regarding the business’s proposed operations, which including the use of the alley and impacts associated with ventilation work at the rear of the restaurant, as well as their financial stability, among other concerns.

In another matter, Beacon Hill Market at 55 Anderson St. is seeking a new off-premises beer and wine license, said Clemens.

While the store is open until 10 p.m. nightly, the applicant, who has agreed to enter into a good neighbor agreement with the BHCA, said they would cease sales on alcoholic beverages at 9 p.m.; this came amid concerns that Beacon Hill Market is open past the closing times of other nearby liquor stores on Charles and Cambridge streets, said Clemens.

The applicant has also agreed not to sell single cans or kegs of beer, or malt liquor. (Joshua Leffler, president of the BHCA board, asked if the store could be permitted to still sell low-alcohol malt liquor beverages, in light of their growing popularity.) Meanwhile, the owner of Beacon Hill Market has indicated their plans to physically upgrade the premises, as well as to expand the store’s offerings, said Clemens

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