Food & Drink Real Estate

Residents’ Association, NEWRA, Opposes 2nd Floor Restaurant Addition at 78-80 Salem Street


The North End / Waterfront Residents’ Association voted 10-27 to oppose zoning relief for a second floor addition at 78-80 Salem Street to expand Pulcinella Bar E Ristorante. Architectural plans were reviewed by property owner Chris Young and Attorney John Russell at the March 14, 2013 NEWRA meeting.

The existing 1-story building is at the corner of Stillman and Salem Streets. The property housed a 4-story building at one time and then later at 2-story building occupied by the “Fish House.” Further deterioration and a fire eventually reduced the structure to its current 1-story condition.

In response to neighborhood feedback, the applicant removed a proposed roof garden and added a condition that the roof is not to be used by restaurant patrons. Another change is the window design that will now have two smaller openings rather than one large open space to the street.

Giovanni Oliva is the restaurant owner of the Pulcinella and intends to amend his alcohol license to increase seating to 66 from 34 currently. The closing hour is licensed for a midnight closing, 7 days a week. As with most restaurants, windows would be shut at 11:00 pm.

Among space, yard and parking zoning violations, the applicant is looking to relieve the general prohibition for use by a 2nd floor by a restaurant. The applicant identified 15 other North End restaurants that currently have 2nd floor seating, including La Famiglia di Giorgios, Riccardo, Taranta, Bricco, Saraceno’s, Filippo’s, Tresca, LoConte’s, Bacco, 5 North Square, Lucia, Filippo’s, Goody Glovers, Mama Maria’s and Marco’s (now Aria Trattoria). Mr. Young noted that his abutters are supportive of the project.

Salem St. resident Darlene Romano cited a petition with nearly 75 signatures voicing concerns about more noise and the proliferation of 2nd floor restaurant additions. Mr. Young asked residents to look at the project as a unique situation and believes this addition will not cause similar problems of nearby bar locations.

NEWRA member Bart Higgins objected to the list of 15 2nd floor restaurants presented while at the same time asking for individual consideration. Mr. Young said the list was meant to show he was not setting a precedent.

After further discussion, a private ballot vote was called resulting in 10 supporting and 27 opposing votes on the application. By NEWRA’s majority system, the group will write an opposition letter to the Zoning Board of Appeals.

In contrast, the Neighborhood Council, NEWNC, recently voted in favor of the requested zoning relief at this location. NEWNC and NEWRA’s votes are advisory to the City’s Zoning Board of Appeal that will make the final decision.

Please watch the video above for the full presentation, discussion and vote.