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American Provisions makes case for wine and beer license; some come out in oppositon

Posted by Patrick Rosso  November 28, 2012 02:27 PM

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Owners of and representatives for American Provisions, a niche cheese and meats store in South Boston, appeared before the Boston Licensing Board Wednesday to make their case to sell wine and beer. But the petition was met with opposition from some community members.

Co-owners Andy Fadous and Matt Thayer, along with their attorney Pierce Haley, said the wine and malt beverage license would allow them to offer alcoholic selections that would complement the food already sold in the store, which opened at 613 East Broadway in 2010.

“When they first opened it was always in the plan to have a beer and wine license,” Haley told the board. “There have been requests from people who patronize the store that they’re looking for these types of complements.”

Haley also said the license will help keep business in South Boston.

“I think they’re trying to keep South Boston residents that are looking for this from going downtown or to the South End,” Haley added.

The types of offerings, according to the owners, would be “limited” and would concentrate on “high-end” and “small batch” wine and beers.

Some who attended the hearing Wednesday morning, however, were outright opposed to any more liquor licenses coming into the community.

Kay Walsh, project director of South Boston CAN Reduce Underage Drinking, testified before the board that the neighborhood is already over-saturated and doesn’t need another store offering alcohol, no matter the price range.

“We see no possible need for another license,” Walsh said. “Our concern is for the community.”

Prior to the hearing Walsh told that her opposition has nothing to do specifically with the store.

“We’re concerned about the looseness of the licensing board,” Walsh said. “Alcoholism is a universal affliction it doesn’t just affect the rich or the poor.”

Thomas Orlandi, an attorney hired by Robyn Chiminello, owner of The Hub, a liquor store located across the street from American Provisions, also voiced opposition to the license, saying his client currently meets the needs of the community.

“We have 21 stores [that sell alcoholic beverages] in South Boston right now,” Orlandi told the board. “South Boston doesn’t need any more liquor licenses.”

Orlandi also produced 1,900 signatures against the license petition.

When asked after the hearing if the hiring of an attorney and opposition to the new license was based on the fear of competition, Chiminello said no.

”I have no fear it’s going to cut into my business, I can compete,” said Chiminello, who has owned the store for 13-years. “I do a lot for this neighborhood, I’m a neighborhood person.”

Four residents also spoke out in opposition to American Provisions’ request, but many also turned out to support the store.

South Boston City Councilor Bill Linehan’s office and at-Large City Councilor Felix Arroyo’s office voiced their support for the request Wednesday, along with a representative for the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services, who said there was an “overwhelming amount of support” at community meetings.

American Provisions’ attorney also produced a petition with 2,000 signatures in support of the request.

A number of residents also voiced their support for the store before the board.

“American Provisions is not a liquor store, it’s a unique high-end store, there’s nothing like it in South Boston,” said Gary Murad, a local resident and member of the St. Vincent Lower End Neighborhood Association. “We have 1,000s of new residents coming in and those new residents are looking for different options.”

The licensing board will vote Thursday to support, deny, or defer the request.

Urban Art Bar seeks to add beer and wine to offerings

Owners of the Urban Art Bar were before the Boston Licensing Board Wednesday for their request to purchase a license that would allow them to offer wine, beer, and liqueur to customers at their South Boston location.

The art studio, which offers group art classes, said the license will help compliment their business and provide a unique service to the community.

“It’s an exciting new concept,” Andrew Upton, an attorney representing owner Heather Carbone, told the board. “This is essentially a social nighttime activity and would drive the social atmosphere."

The studio, located at 163 Old Colony Ave., has been open for close to two-months and would serve the beverages to patrons taking art classes, which are reservation only. There would be no walk-in customers.

The location’s opening hours range with a midnight closing hour. The license, which the studio has under agreement, would be purchased from The Avenue Grille in Dorchester.

The Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services along with South Boston City Councilor Bill Linehan's office and two residents voiced their support Wednesday for the transfer.

Kay Walsh, project director of South Boston CAN Reduce Underage Drinking, voiced her opposition to the license transfer, saying the neighborhood has too many establishments that serve alcohol.

The licensing board will vote Thursday to support, deny, or defer decision on the request.

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

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