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Second Floor Addition Plan Resubmitted for 78-80 Salem Street and Pulcinella Mozzarella E Ristorante

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Pulcinella Mozzarella Bar E Ristorante at 78-80 Salem St – Proposed Phase II

A second floor addition was re-filed for zoning relief at 78-80 Salem Street to expand the existing 1-story building for Pulcinella Bar E Ristorante. Revised architectural plans were reviewed by property owner Chris Young at the February 26th meeting of the Zoning, Licensing & Construction Committee of the North End / Waterfront Residents’ Association (NEWRA).

In response to concerns about roof deck seating, the applicant has added a condition that the roof is not to be used by restaurant patrons. This was one of the concerns discussed previously by the Neighborhood Council (NEWNC) that voted against a prior proposal. Another change is the window design that will now have two smaller openings rather than one large open space to the street.

The restaurant owner of the Pulcinella is expected to attend upcoming NEWRA and NEWNC meetings. He will also need to amend his alcohol license to increase seating to 66 from 34 currently. The closing hour is licensed for a midnight closing, 7 days a week.

The zoning violation needing relief is the general forbidden use of a 2nd floor by a restaurant. Mr. Young identified 15 other North End restaurants that currently have 2nd floor seating, including La Famiglia di Giorgios, Tresca, LoConte’s, Bacco, 5 North Square, Lucia, Filippo’s, Goody Glovers, Mama Maria’s and Marco’s (now Aria Trattoria).

The one-story building was formerly “Michael’s Salon” and is located at the corner of Salem and Stillman Streets. To explain the history and delays in the project filings, Mr. Young said that the site was initially to be a residential, 5-story building project. However, that plan was scrapped because new construction requirements call for 2 internal stairways that would take up too much of the living space. A previous restaurant plan for Cibo Con Amore also fell through when proposed operator, Marissa Iocco, lost the support of her investor. The applicant also noted that the property once housed a 3-story building.

One resident in attendance spoke against the project saying that the “noise from Goody Glovers and Bacco is ridiculous. When does it end? Is it going to be all restaurants? Enough is enough.” The applicant responded that the Pulcinella is a quiet restaurant unlikely to cause problems seen at other establishments and that it is unfair to cluster everyone because of a few bad actors. ZLC Committee co-chair, David Kubiak, noted that more restaurant seats have an incremental impact on traffic, deliveries, trash and the number of people on the sidewalks.

In answer to a question about whether the restaurant needs more seats given its current business, Mr. Young said the Pulcinella is paying its rent and owner Giovanni Oliva is optimistic on growing a steady clientele that often takes a few seasons.

This presentation was for informational purposes. NEWRA and the Neighborhood Council (NEWNC) will likely vote on the request at an upcoming meeting. Both groups are advisory and the final zoning relief decision will be made by the Zoning Board of Appeal.

78-80 Salem Street at the corner of Stillman Street. Currently occupying the first floor is the Trattoria Pulcinnela Mozzarella Bar.

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Leave a comment on this post:

Sharon Polisson says:

If the roof deck is not going to be used by restaurant patrons, who is going to use it? Will it be accessible to residents of the adjacent buildings?

mc says:

Apparently it was originally said to be used as a roof garden… But I am sure it will be eventually used for other things and the owners will be back in 6 months to ask for another zoning relief in order to use it… There should be no exceptions to zoning…

Salem Street Resident says:

One model to consider: the Aragosta restaurant at Battery Wharf has outdoor seating that stays open until 10pm. The residents required that as a condition for the outdoor seating.

My opinion: I think 10 p.m. is a fair time to close outdoor seating, and limit it to restaurant seating only (not a rooftop bar), if they allow it at all.

Future of Pulcinella: This place does have great food but (1) decor and (2) price hold them back from success. I would say if the decor was nicer people would actually want to go inside – as it is now it’s like you’re in a brightly-lit fishbowl at IKEA. It’s really terrible. Given that, I agree with others that this addition is just priming the property for a new tenant. Will De Pasquale open another restaurant here? the Mendozas? I would support either of them taking over the 2 floor space because they have a proven track record and respect the neighborhood.

mc says:

This would require a zoning relief exception to be made to allow the use of the 2nd floor as a restaurant. Not apartments as it previous was. We need to stop allowing for exceptions to zoning! This restaurant is always quiet and typically closed when it says it’d be open – my guess is they are setting this up to be sold… The owner also just went through the process to get it as a restaurant within the last year and now they want to add a floor – next up they’ll ask to use the roof for a deck… when will it end?!? No exceptions.

andy says:

“The applicant responded that the Pulcinella is a quiet restaurant….”

Understatement of the century.

lifelongresident says:

what puzzles me that all these deep pocket developers come in add on to what exits and they go home to they re waterfront homes and dont have to listen and stay up all night like the rest of us peasants have to endure!!!

MB says:

I genuinely feel bad for the people running this place. I’ve been there and the food was great, but something about the layout and decor is “off”. I wish them all the best, but I really don’t see the addition helping the current tenants. An expansion would maybe help a new tenant with a better “formula”, but in any case I would certainly be against an outdoor seating area unless is was limited to shutting down by something like 9:00PM at the latest.

Oy vey says:

The city allows for outdoor seating until 11PM

andy says:

I agree, would love to see them succeed – seems like they have had success at their other location. It does seem to be a tough corner there on Salem and also agreed that the layout/decor seems off. I have only checked out the menu and turned away at the prices which don’t seem to be doing them any favors in terms of competing against the better known spots in the area.

Me says:

They have got to be building this out to sell to a bigger outfit. There is no way the current tenant Pulcinella can attract that many patrons. The question is – what will move in there? Some national chain I would bet . . . Olive Garden?

Oy vey says:

paranoid much?