In a vote of 6-3, the North End / Waterfront Neighborhood Council (NEWNC) voted last night to support Damien DiPaola’s application to transfer the beer and wine license at 54 Salem Street, formerly Eclano. DiPaola intends to open a casual restaurant named “Vito’s” at the same address with a 1:00 a.m. closing hour, as currently exists on the license.
NEWNC President Stephen Passacantilli began the discussion by disclosing his position as an employee of Mr. DiPaola at the existing Ristorante Damiano on Hanover Street. Passacantilli said, “Because there is no personal impact on me as a result of this application, I am not recusing myself.” This decision was later questioned in the meeting as a possible conflict of interest by resident Thomas Schiavoni. However, Passacantilli stood by his decision noting that he contacted the Ethics Commission about the issue.
Attorney William Ferrullo represented Mr. DiPaola who was also present at the meeting. He said the applicant has been in the restaurant business all his life and opened Damiano’s about two years ago in a building that he owns on Hanover Street.
Mr. DiPaola will lease the space at 54 Salem Street to open Vito’s Restaurant, named after his niece bulldog. The restaurant will have a capacity for 68 people of which 59 will be seats on the first floor.
Vito’s will be more casual and less expensive than Damiano’s. The new restaurant will offer burgers, burritos, sandwiches, Italian specialties, fish and chips, steak and pastas. There will be table service.
Although the license does not currently have any restrictions, Mr. DiPaola agreed to stipulate in the license that alcohol will only be served with food. The current license has a 1:00 a.m. closing hour, 7 days per week. The location will have a 5 seat bar intended for dining. The kitchen will be open for lunch and dinner, closing at midnight.
Councilperson Anne Devlin Tagliaferro asked if Mr. DiPaola would sign a Good Neighbor Agreement and inquired about the type of signage. The applicant was non-committal about the agreement but said the sign would be a “good old-fashioned sign.”
Mario Alfano, a Councilperson, asked about staffing to which Mr. DPaola said he is an equal-opportunity employer. Luciana Burdi, also on the Council, noted the poor cleanliness of Morton Street. Mr. DiPaola said he intends to clean up that side of the corner.
In answer to a question from Donna Freni, Attorney Ferullo said that the Licensing Board does not generally change the terms (i.e., closing hours) of a license in the case of a transfer to a new owner at the same location. From the audience, David Kubiak questioned that assessment indicating that the applicant may ask the Licensing Board for any type of change on the license.
Anne Devlin Tagliaferro motioned to support the application. Donna Freni seconded. In the hand vote of 6-3, NEWNC will support the application. Opposing council votes were cast by Ryan Kenny, Luciana Burdi and Mario Alfano.
In other business, NEWNC heard from Marisa Iocco regarding her application to transfer Grezzo’s beer and wine license and bring it to 78-80 Salem Street for “La Sosta di Maria.” NEWNC supported the application in a vote of 8-1.
In addition, Jorge Mendoza presented his application to extend the closing hours to 1:00 a.m. at “Vinoteca di Monica.” The council voted 9-0 in support.