An applicant who intends to open a new restaurant in the former McGreevy’s space at 911 Boylston St. outlined their plan during the Sept. 13 meeting of the Neighborhood Association of Back Bay Licensing and Building Use Committee Meeting, which took place virtually.
A name for the new establishment is still being settled on, but it would likely incorporate the “McGreevy’s” moniker in a nod to the previous establishment owned by Dropkick Murphys lead singer, Ken Casey, which closed in August of last year amid financial fallout from the pandemic. But unlike the standard pub food offered by its predecessor, the new McGreevy’s would serve French/British/American fare, with a hamburger expected to cost in $18-22 range, according to chief applicant, Andrew O’Keefe.
O’Keefe would be the establishment’s manager of record and his wife, Jenny, would serve as the assistant manager. Both have had extensive experience in the industry, most recently running two restaurants in Midtown Manhattan. The couple would be opening the new establishment with the financial backing of two investors, said O’Keefe, who added that he and his wife would also be relocating to Boston, perhaps even living above the new restaurant.
Food is expected to account for 75 percent of the new establishment’s income, he said, with the remaining 25 percent coming from the sale of alcohol, although the applicant was reluctant to agree to a requested good-neighbor proviso that alcohol be served at tables only with food.
“It’s going to be expensive,” said O’Keefe, who added that bread would be made in house and meat and fish locally sourced, and they might eventually even add a lobster tank downstairs.
The proposed hours of operation would be 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily, except Sunday, said the applicant, because the new establishment plans to offer breakfast, including some Polish dishes not now available in the Back Bay area.
Conrad Armstrong, NABB LBU Committee chair, told the applicant that a restaurant offering breakfast on that part of Boylston Street would fill a void left after the closure of the Pour House in September of last year.
The establishment wouldn’t offer takeout to start, however, said O’Keefe, but that could come later.
Upstairs, the new McGreevy’s would have a capacity of between 85 and 100, said the applicant, with a bar with seating for 10 to 15 patrons on one side, a smaller bar with room for six to 10 patrons on the other, and a few tables in between them.
Downstairs would be a lounge area with around a 40-person capacity, where the applicant hopes to bring live jazz. There would be no TVs on this floor, and food would be served there as well, said the applicant.
NABB chair, Elliott Laffer, advised the applicant they would need to seek a separate entertainment license from the city for this endeavor, and that while Back Bay had once been a popular destination for live music, the community has since “pushed back” against such proposals.
Trash would be stored in a dumpster in back of the establishment, said the applicant, and its removal would be handled by a commercial trash hauler.
There are currently no plans for outdoor seating at the establishment, said O’Keefe.
In another matter, the applicant, Jason Vuong, operating as VT Partners LLC, detailed a plan to open a bubble-tea shop called Gong Cha in a retail space formerly home to a Dunkin’ (Donuts) at 270 Newbury St.
The proposed hours of operation would be 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, according to the applicant,. Besides bubble tea, the proposed Newbury Street outpost would sell waffles and other food items prepared on site using a hot induction cooker, said the applicant, who also owns and operates the original Gong Cha in Worcester
The new shop would offer countertop seating, including one long counter along the wall, said Vuong, and it would have a small patio in front, where the applicant hopes to add a few tables. But Laffer advised Vuong he would likely have to go to the city’s Board of Appeal to have the patio use changed to reflect the new ownership, as well as to have the conditional use for the patio extended to them.
Trash would go in a dumpster in back, shared with other businesses in the building, and given the modest scope of the proposed operation, the waste generated is expected to be minimal. Still, Armstrong asked the applicant to store trash at the rear of the restaurant until just prior to pickup, if possible.
The applicant said they hope to have the proposed Newbury Street shop up and running by next spring, and that the expected site build-out would be minimal, since the space was formerly a Dunkin’ location.
In both cases, Armstrong told each applicant he would let them know the committee’s determinations on their respective applications, as the votes weren’t open to the public.
Another item regarding the proposed operation of Cafeteria restaurant at 279a Newbury St. under new management was on the meeting agenda, but postponed until the committee’s October meeting at the applicant’s request, according to Armstrong.