The Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay License and Building Use Committee voted not to oppose Bacco Wine and Cheese’s planned expansion at 31 St. James St. at its July 5 meeting, which was held virtually. According to a report submitted to NABB’s Executive Committee by LBU Chair, Conrad Armstrong, the applicant wants to expand the space by taking down the wall between their current liquor store and their food store next door to create one larger store that sells both liquor and food.
The establishment would keep the same hours, except they will open Sunday at 10 a.m., instead of noon. In another matter, Yexin Zheng (John), the sole proprietor of Superemoji, detailed his plans to open the bubble tea take-out restaurant at 217 Newbury St. The establishment wouldn’t serve alcohol and is seeking only a CV license, while its proposed hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
The committee voted not to oppose this application, after members expressed no concern with the applicant’s plan to share an existing dumpster with a business at 215 Newbury St. Meanwhile, the committee voted to defer making a decision on Ramsay’s Kitchen, the restaurant that celebrity chef, Gordon Ramsay, intends to open in the former Bar Boulud space in the Mandarin Hotel. (Ramsay won’t be the full-time manager, Armstrong wrote.) Bar Boulud had operated under the hotel’s liquor license, according to Armstrong, whereas Ramsay’s Kitchen intends to bring in their own license (although they haven’t identified one to purchase yet), so “the hotel will be ‘carving out’ the restaurant space from their liquor license.” Ramsay’s Kitchen is also undertaking a major renovation of the space, added Armstrong, and entering into a 10-year lease, with two five-year options.
The new establishment’s proposed hours are 7 a.m. to midnight indoors, and the committee requested that the patio close no later than 11 p.m. Trash pickup would be handled by the hotel. “A couple committee members felt that the attorney wasn’t well prepared for presenting to NABB, but the biggest concern was that their architectural plans for the patio showed sections of it clearly bumping out beyond the property line and into the public sidewalk,” wrote Armstrong. “We stressed that that cannot happen.”
A couple of committee members expressed concern with the applicant’s architectural plans for the patio, sections of which appeared to extend over the property line and into the public sidewalk, but the applicant’s attorney “seemed to acknowledge that they would not be making the patio any bigger than it was under Bar Boulud,” wrote Armstrong” In deferring the matter, the committee requested, that the applicant return “with firm plans that show that the patio will not be larger than it currently is,” according to Armstrong,