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.