Billy Tse Restaurant presented a proposal to add outdoor seating on the public sidewalk area in front of 240 Commercial Street. Operating since 1996 at the location, Mr. Tse said he wants to put out 10 tables, each with 2 seats, for 20 seats total to offer food and drinks outside. He referenced the exterior patios at nearby Joe’s American Bar & Grill and The Living Room.
The walking area remaining on the sidewalk would be 4 feet wide. The office building entrance would cause a gap between the seating, resulting in 2 separate patio areas. One would be in front of the sushi part of the restaurant while the other would be on the bar side.
Abutters have asked that the tables and chairs be taken inside after closing so they do not create a problem. Because alcohol will be served, the seating area must be gated or roped off from the remaining public sidewalk and directly accessible to the inside of the restaurant.
Hours of operation will remain the same with a 12:00 am midnight closing, 7 days per week, although the patio may close earlier. The outdoor seating would be seasonal from April 1st through October 31st.
A concern was raised about noise from music and TVs with the windows and doors open to serve the new outdoor seating area. An abutter at 236 Commercial Street also brought up rampant rodent activity in the sidewalk area. She asked that trash bags and boxes be put out in front of the restaurant rather than the neighboring property. A representative from 59 Fleet Street asked for the drawing plans to share with residents. No residents from the large residential Prince Building attended the meeting.
There will be no change to the raised garden area in front of the restaurant. A neighboring business, Anthony’s Cafe on the Waterfront, has a few seasonal breakfast/lunch seats in the adjacent corner area, but those are not part of the Public Improvement application.
The use of a public sidewalk requires approval by the Boston Public Improvement Commission, including input from several municipal agencies. The restaurant will also seek an amendment to its current all-alcohol beverage license for the additional seating.
This presentation was for informational purposes, made on February 26, 2013 at the Zoning, Licensing & Construction Committee meeting of the North End / Waterfront Residents’ Association. NEWRA and the Neighborhood Council (NEWNC) will likely vote on the request at an upcoming meeting. Both groups are advisory and the final decision will be made by city officials. A hearing is currently scheduled for March 20, 2013.