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Tasty Burger neighbors in South Boston say grill smoke is 'choking' them

Posted by Patrick Rosso  September 18, 2012 09:55 AM

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(Patrick D. Rosso/

The smoke stack in question, located on the roof of Tasty Burger's South Boston location.

Tasty Burger has officially opened in South Boston and while many are excited for what’s coming out of the take-out window, some residents are concerned about what is coming out of its ventilation unit.

Neighbors who live adjacent to the property at 69-71 L St. say that the smoke and the odor from the grill is choking them in their own homes.

“It’s just horrible,” Marie Madden, who lives across the street from the burger shack, said Monday afternoon at an informal neighborhood meeting. “The smoke was just pouring out of the stack Saturday.”

Madden said the take-out-only burger stand, which filled the space on L Street formerly occupied by the Boathouse, is producing so much smoke from its grill that it is making life unbearable for residents. Madden said that Saturday, Tasty’s opening day, and Sunday were the worse and fears what the future holds for residents if they have to put up with the “carcinogen” and “pollution”.

“My throat hurt, my eyes burned, I can’t live like this,” said Madden.

David DuBois, the owner of the restaurant along with the Franklin Café on Dorchester Avenue, was also at the informal meeting Monday, to assure residents that he is doing everything he can to alleviate any issues.

“They [the neighbors] brought it [the smoke] to my attention and were just trying to be good neighbors,” said DuBois.

DuBois informed residents that over the next several weeks he will be installing a “state-of-the-art” electronic air-scrubbing system that will, according to DuBois, remove all smoke and odors leaving the restaurant.

“It [the system] takes out the particulate and from what I understand it will take the odor out and most of the smoke, if not all of it,” said DuBois. “At the end of the day I believe this solution will solve the problem in a big way.”

Although some neighbors welcomed the news, many also took the opportunity to criticize DuBois for other issues revolving around the restaurant, including its operating hours (the establishment closes at 12 a.m. Friday and Saturday) double parking by customers and the possibility of seating next to the burger stand.

“At the peak hours there are cars doubled parked on both sides, and I do think it caters to the late night crowd and South Boston isn’t a late night place,” said Stephen McCarthy, an Emerson Street resident and son-in-law of Madden. “We’re not opposed to Tasty Burger; we asked for no outside seating and a 10 p.m. closing.”

While many of the 15 residents who gathered Monday were frustrated with the smoke, there were also complaints about its hours and outside seating, both of which were approved by the city’s Licensing Board and supported by local politicians.

State Represntative Nick Collins, who attended Monday's meeting and who opposed the outside seating at the licensing hearing, said it will take the neighborhood and DuBois working together to solve any concerns.

“These type of things aren’t easy particularity in a residential community,” said Collins. “When challenges come up you try to take the input and find some common ground.”

Email Patrick D. Rosso, Follow him @PDRosso, or friend him on Facebook.

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