Food & Drink

Al Dente’s Outdoor Patio Stirs Residents

The Patios and New Restaurant

Al Dente Restaurant owner Joe Bono is looking to open a 16-seat outdoor patio in the back of his existing 40-seat restaurant at 109 Salem Street. A second 14-seat patio next door at 111 Salem Street is also being proposed that would connect to a new 40-seat restaurant at the space that was formerly Trani Ice Cream. The combined patio would span the area behind both properties and serve up to 30 people in a space roughly 10 ½ feet wide connected to the indoor restaurants via a 4-5ft walkway. The new restaurant would serve pizza and other affordable Italian fare. Mr. Bono, owner for 16 years at 109 Salem St., presented his plans at the NEWRA (North End/Waterfront Residents’ Association) Zoning, Licensing & Construction (ZLC) committee meeting on Tuesday, May 26, 2009.

Al Dente Owner, Joe Bono (right) and his attorney present to NEWRA’s ZLC Committee
Al Dente Owner, Joe Bono (right) and his attorney present to NEWRA’s ZLC Committee

License Issues

In addition to an amendment for the 109 Salem St beer/wine license to add the patio, the owner has applied to the Licensing Board for a transfer of second beer/wine license for a new restaurant at 111 Salem St. The second license is coming from Finale Desserterie which had previously planned to open in the former Martignettis’ Liquors space on Cross Street. Finale originally transferred the license from East Boston, but ceased plans to open on Cross Street. The new restaurant would also include a patio in the back that would combine with space from 109 Salem St.

The existing license at Al Dente has an 11 pm closing time. At the meeting, Mr. Bono did not know the closing time on the license being transferred from Finale, although it was speculated to have a 12 am or 1 am closing time. Recorded music exists inside Al Dente, but there are no plans for outdoor music. The patio is expected to be open from May through October, weather permitting. Goose neck downward lighting is anticipated for night dining.

NEWRA has a 91 license cap for pouring licenses and it was noted that 90 were currently approved. The Licensing Board was expected to hear the proposal on June 26 and Mr. Bono is expected to present again at two upcoming neighborhood meetings (Neighborhood Council – NEWNC on June 8 and NEWRA on June 11).

20090526zlcaudienceNeighborhood Voices Concerns

Residents from Prince Street and the surrounding area voiced strong opposition to the proposal. The new condo development at 44 Prince Street is directly adjacent to the intended patio area. Complaints regarding existing noise from nearby indoor venues indicate that a new outdoor patio would bring unacceptable noise levels. An owner on the first floor of 44 Prince Street said that his unit would be only 7 yards away from the patio area. A petition with 50 signatures was sent to public officials opposing the patio proposal.

Trash would be maintained in a fenced area in the front of the property and picked up 7 days/week. Residents were concerned that the garbage space is currently a mess including that of nearby Bacco.