In a vote of 8-1, the North End / Waterfront Neighborhood Council (NEWNC) voted to support a beer/wine license transfer for Marisa Iocco who plans to open “La Sosta Da Marisa” in the Spring of 2011.
Ms. Iocco is applying for a transfer of the Grezzo Restaurant license from 69 Prince Street to open a new restaurant at 78-80 Salem Street. After an extension last year by the Licensing Board, Grezzo’s owners were at risk of losing the license and needed to sell it by December 2010. (Licenses not used within a year can be rescinded by the Licensing Board.) There is currently a pending agreement between Ms. Iocco, building owner Chris Young and the Grezzo owners.
The beer and wine license currently has a closing hour of 11:00 p.m., 7 days per week, although Ms. Iocco is asking to close at midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.
Marisa Iocco is the former executive chef behind Bricco and Mare in the North End before opening in the South end at Galleria Italiana, La Bettola, South End Galleria and Spiga. She has recently begun selling prepared foods as well.
“My vision is for a communal Italian restaurant where people share food at the table, like family,” said the applicant. “I don’t want an upscale restaurant. This place will be simple and elegant.”
Until 2002, 78-80 Salem Street was zoned as a restaurant before being converted into Michael’s Hair Salon. North Ender Chris Young recently purchased the building and expects to file plans this week for a zoning change back to restaurant use.
Most of the discussion at the meeting was about the process of coming for a beer/wine license transfer before zoning approval has been secured. Attorney Ferrullo said there was past precedent, but several on the council and in the audience objected to “putting the cart before the horse.”
Because of the pressure to sell the license, the applicant said the “whole deal will fall apart” if we don’t do the transfer now. The Licensing Board was expected to hear the application on Thursday, January 13, 2011 but the meeting was postponed because of the storm.
Conditioning its vote on coming back with the zoning relief application, the council voted 8-1 in favor of the beer/wine license transfer. (Jon Sproul opposed.)