Food & Drink Real Estate

Residents’ Association Supports Waterfront Cafe Alcohol License Expansion and Residences at Former Tecce’s

The North End / Waterfront Residents’ Association (NEWRA) voted in support of two zoning and licensing applications at their monthly meeting held on Thursday, August 8, 2013.

450 Commercial Street, ZagCafe, Inc. d/b/a Waterfront Cafe has filed two applications to amend its existing Malt and Wine with Cordials License as follows:
1) Removal of the license restriction that requires food to be served with any alcohol.
2) Increase of the licensed seating capacity from 49 to 99, consistent with the current operating capacity.
The owner proposes no other change to the configuration or operation of the establishment. The licensed closing hour of 1:00 AM, 7 days, will not change.

An abutter raised the issue of noise created by trivia with a microphone emanating from open windows. NEWRA’s ZLC Committee sees the removal of the license condition restricting the service of alcohol without food as potentially contributing to more of a bar atmosphere after about 10:00 p.m. However, the proponent said his kitchen is required by fire code to close as early as 2 hours before its 1:00 am closing.

Residents spoke in support regarding Mr. Zagarella as a resident that lives in the building and maintains a clean and safe outside condition. NEWRA awarded the establishment with its Good Neighbor Recognition Award in June 2011.

There was significant discussion regarding the actual capacity as it appears on the license, application and at the establishment. The confusion centers around whether capacity is seats or includes workers and standing positions as per its occupancy permit and entertainment license.

NEWRA voted 13-6 in support of removing the license restriction that food be served with alcohol.
NEWRA voted 16-3 to increase the licensed seating capacity.


55-57 N. Washington Street, Michelle Holdings, LLC has filed a zoning appeal to change the legal occupancy from restaurant, office and 16 residential units to 20 residential units, converting the remaining portion of the commercial space formerly Tecce’s Restaurant to residential use.

According to NEWRA’s ZLC Committee Report, the owner has hired a property management firm to maintain all of his North Washington Street and Cooper Street buildings and has created a trash room in the back of 55 N. Washington Street for use by tenants in all buildings, though there is no requirement that tenants use the trash room, and most residents are expected to continue to place trash on the sidewalk.

The owner has agreed to provide four parking spaces in the small, fenced parking lot at Cooper Street and Stillman Place for rent by residents in these buildings. Any spaces not rented by the residents will be made available for rent to other interested parties. The owner and tenants of commercial property at the corner of N. Washington Street and Thacher Street have raised opposition to the current request for conversion, because they feel it will lower commercial activity along N. Washington Street. Michelle Holdings counters that they have tried for more than a year to gain a commercial tenant in the remaining Tecce Restaurant space, with no success.

NEWRA voted 19-1 in support of this application.


The neighborhood organization heard a presentation regarding the redesign of North Square. Also in North Square, city officials proposed a Hubway station there. These issues will be posted separately.