A Japanese restaurant chain is poised to open its first U.S. location in the street-level Boylston Street storefront formerly occupied by a B.Good location, representatives for the proposed establishment said during the virtual monthly meeting of the Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay (NABB) License and Building Use Committee on Monday, Aug. 7.
Japan-based Food & Life Companies, which operates more than 1,000 restaurant locations throughout Asia, including 600 stores in Japan, intends to open Sugidama Back Bay at 665 Boylston St. Its menu offerings will include sashimi and cold appetizers; tofu dishes; tempura; hot appetizers, such as deep-fried fish and egg pudding; sushi; and a selection of sake and sake cocktails, said Yosuke Tanaka of Food & Life Companies.
“It’s not fine dining, but it’s sit-down dining,” added Tanaka.
Attorney Dennis Quilty said the applicant would have two hearings with the city – one for the zoning relief that would allow the restaurant to operate, as well as to offer takeout (the restaurant would be primarily a casual, seated establishment but also offer “incidental” takeout, said Quilty); and another hearing to request a wine-and-cordials license for the site.
Additionally, the applicant is seeking to change the restaurant’s closing time to midnight, seven days a week, (from B.Good’s previous closing time at this location of 8:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 7:30 p.m. on Sunday), said Quilty, as well as to increase the restaurants total occupancy from around 60 to 90. (The existing 16-seat patio would remain unchanged, albeit for the addition of a few planters, while the occupancy inside the restaurant would increase from 45 or 46 to around 75.)
To accommodate the added occupancy, restroom accommodations will be increased to include two “powder rooms,” along with a unisex restroom, said Eric Erazo of Boston-based McMahon Architects, while a second point of egress will also be created.
The existing awning would be refinished to reflect the brand of the new restaurant, said Erazo, while the footprint of the exterior sign will remain the same after the installation of new signage. (The Back Bay Architectural Commission must ultimately approve the proposed awning and signage.)
Trash, which would be picked up daily, will be stored within a 70-gallon trash can in an interior space at the rear of the restaurant, said Erazo, until it’s moved to a dedicated bin in the common trash-storage area for the building in the alley.
All deliveries would be made via the allay, added Quilty.
Conrad Armstrong, committee chair, told Quilty and other representatives for the applicant he would notify them of NABB’s determination on their application (i.e. their decision to oppose or not oppose the application) by Monday, Aug. 15.