Giovanni Grimaldi has applied for a new beer and wine license for Sapori Di Napoli (Taste of Naples) at 115A Salem Street. This is Grimaldi’s second cafe on Salem Street including Napoli Pastry down the block. The new cafe has been open for a few months serving gelato, pastries and coffee beverages. NEWRA and NEWNC both voted to support the new cafe at 115A Salem Street (not the liquor license, just the “change of use” for a cafe).
In an unusual series of events, a previous application for a new license was denied by the Licensing Board but then reinstated by the state Alcohol Beverage Commission on appeal.
The Licensing Board had determined the public need was met in the North End. By NEWRA’s count, there are 89 pouring licenses in the North End/Waterfront, which is 2 under the Association’s cap of 91.
The application is for a midnight closing hour, 7 days a week. This is generally an hour later than neighborhood resident groups preferences of 11 pm closing during the week and midnight on Friday and Saturday. Grimaldi notes that his other cafe, Napoli Pastry, already has a midnight closing time.
Grimaldi appealed to ABCC and won on the grounds that the neighborhood had not had the opportunity to advise the Licensing Board since neither of the groups had voted on the license.
There is speculation that at least one license in the neighborhood is for sale, a new license is much cheaper than buying out an existing one where trades go from $15,000 to $60,000. However, transfers tend to much easier to gain approval than new licenses.
At NEWRA’s Zoning, Licensing & Construction committee meeting, some residents questions whether the organization should support any new licenses. Salem Street already has approximately 22 licenses with another 36 on Hanover Street.
Grimaldi views his cafes as not big drinking places, but rather a place folks go before or after dinner to have snacks and desserts. His vision is to replicate an Italian cafe where liquor is available. Ironically, cordials is not included in the license application. Per Grimaldi, the cordials part comes later as an add-on to the malt and wine license.
A resident at 44 Prince Street raised the issue that the back of the new cafe is about 12 feet from their property. She asked that the cafe install curtains or blinds to prevent the light from shining in. Other abutters raised the issue of noise and they requested the back windows be kept closed. Grimaldi agreed to speak with the abutters regarding this and potential other issues.
The cafe is approximately 1200 square feet with 32 seats and a bar. The application is for 40 seats. Grimaldi emphasized that all his food products are imported from Italy except for morning bagels and pastries.
This license application will be on October 8th NEWRA and October 19th NEWNC agendas.