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Neighborhood Council Gets New President, Questions Cycle Track and Supports Alcohol License Transfer at Former Davide Restaurant

This post is a recap of the February 10, 2014 monthly meeting of the North End / Waterfront Neighborhood Council (NEWNC) held at the Nazzaro Center in Boston’s North End.

Philip Frattaroli is the new President of the North End / Waterfront Neighborhood Council, shown here at a prior event.

(1) NEWNC announced a new President, Philip Frattaroli, to replace Stephen Passacantilli who has stepped down now that he has taken a position as part of Mayor Walsh’s office in Boston City Hall. The council and several local dignitaries thanked Stephen for his seven years of volunteer service on NEWNC, including four as President. Frattaroli was formerly Vice-President on the council and elected to be President by fellow council members. Secretary John Pregmon has also taken on the Vice-President position.

(2) City Councilor Sal LaMattina addressed NEWNC and spoke about the following issues: (01:40 in video)

  • Trash Hearing on Put-out, Pick-up Hours – On March 3, 2014, 6:30 pm at Boston City Hall (5th Floor), the City Council will conduct a hearing to change the hours that residential trash can be put out on the streets for pick-up. The hearing is the result of a North End petition, among similar efforts in other neighborhoods, to have a morning only time frame, such as 5am-9am, when trash can be placed on the street so that no trash will be left on the curb overnight.
  • More Trash News – At LaMattina’s request, Public Works has assigned a hokey (manual cleaner) to the North End, starting immediately. Mechanical street cleaning will resume on March 1st.
  • LaMattina was recently appointed Chair of the Economic Development Committee on the City Council. One of his initiatives is to add ferry service on Boston Harbor to better link East Boston, North End, Charlestown, Downtown and the Seaport District.

(3) Public Safety Committee Report (07:00 in video) – A review of the latest North End public safety meeting was provided by David Marx, NEWNC Public Safety Chair. He also announced that residents can call the 24 Loud Party Hotline at 617-549-7503 or email

(4) Greenway Report (09:40) – Newly appointed Executive Director Jesse Brackenbury addressed the council with an update on the Greenway Conservancy. The Conservancy will be hosting a North End workshop, open to all, on March 11, 2014 at the Mariner’s House.

Commercial Street Cycle Track Design Rendering

(5) Cycle Track on Commercial Street (14:00) – Vineet Gupta, Boston Transportation Department planner, presented plans for a Cycle Track around the North End moving the existing bike lanes from the street to sidewalk level along the waterfront side. The cycle track is part of the $23 million Connect Historic project. After listening to the presentation that was made at previous community meetings, NEWNC members questioned the expensive project in relation to other community priorities.

Concerns about safety, traffic and parking were raised regarding the cycle track, especially when the existing bike lanes are no longer available to buffer the curved and narrowed vehicle lanes. A specific safety trouble point was identified at the Charter and Commercial Street intersection where the cycle track ends. This was the location of a recent fatality. Questions were also asked about maintenance and winter snow clearing of the cycle track. Several meeting attendees also shared experiences about traffic backups on Commercial Street. NEWNC President Philip Frattaroli asked city officials to consider these comments as they modify the design.

Donato Frattaroli and Attorney William Ferullo present for a license transfer at 328 Commercial Street, formerly Davide Restaurant.

(6) In its final agenda issue at the meeting, NEWNC voted 6 to 1 in support of an all-alcohol license transfer for Donato Frattaroli at 326-328 Commercial Street to open a new restaurant. Donato & Gianni, LLC has a pending purchase agreement with current owners of the Gesualdi Family who previously operated Davide Restaurant at the location.

Attorney William Ferullo explained that the current Davide license has four restrictions, including (1) 11:30 pm closing time, (2) no bar, (3) serving alcohol only with food and (4) no TVs or entertainment. Mr. Frattaroli is proposing to keep the 11:30 pm closing, but initially asked to remove the other three conditions. Plans include a 12 seat dining bar with 2 TVs / background music and to allow serving alcohol without food.

Speaking on behalf of residents at the 24-unit condominium at 328 Commercial Street were Attorney Merrill and condo trustee Mariellen Burns who expressed concerns that the space might turn into a “barroom” with noise and smoking outside. The proponent said he intends to run a “fine dining restaurant” and is “not interested in running a bar.” After an extended discussion, Mr. Frattaroli said he would concede to continue with the restriction of serving alcohol only with food to ease concerns of the building residents.

The council voted 6-1 to support the transfer of the all-alcohol license keeping two of the four restrictions, the 11:30 pm closing time and to serve alcohol only with food. The council supported removing the “no bar” and “no TVs/entertainment” restrictions from the license. (NEWNC President Philip Frattaroli recused himself due to his family relationship with the applicant.)

The application will also be presented at NEWRA on Thursday, February 13, 2014. The official hearing will be on March 5, 2014 at the Boston Licensing Board who will make the final decision.

Note: The embedded meeting video below is missing the first part of the last presentation due to a battery failure in the video camera. The video starts midway at 57:30 with about 25 minutes left in the discussion and NEWNC vote. My apologies for the partial video recording.

14 Replies to “Neighborhood Council Gets New President, Questions Cycle Track and Supports Alcohol License Transfer at Former Davide Restaurant

  1. People in this neighborhood are ridiculous.. Donato Frattaroli is a great member of the neighborhood and contributes a lot. I don’t understand why it’s an issue if someone wants to go just to have a drink, especially with an 11:30 closing time.

  2. Re: Bike Lanes: The cycle lanes are a concern for many North End residents. Perhaps the pedestrians will be at risk now on Commercial Street. The bikers will be going at a good speed there. What happened with the proposal for Salem St bike lanes — or have I not kept up with the news? It would prove to be dangerous for bikers. There is heavy traffic, and Salem is so narrow. Pedestrians would also be at risk since they gather here and there to chat, sometimes stepping off the curb. The tourists ! They cross in droves at the Old North Church, following the “Freedom Trail”.

  3. There were never going to be bike lanes on Salem St. They did paint pictures on bikes on the road when they repaved to show motorists that they were sharing the space with bikes.

      1. Nope. As JES said, they are shared lane markings on Salem St. which have little impact on traffic and are primarily there to draw attention to cyclists sharing the roadways.

  4. Mike, You are absolutely right, the Frattaroli Family is a wonderful family, and don’t see where the
    issue would ever have to be the transfer from Davide to the this family, and the other plus here is
    that this was an already established restaurant continuing to be a restaurant. Mike and Steve the
    issue is there are far too many liquor licenses in this tiny Neighborhood and there is no concern
    for neighbors or residents. Davide never had any problems where people were coming out of the
    restaurant drunk and disturbing the peace and hopefully this restaurant will do the same. Davide
    had a 2 or 3 seat bar, which discouraged people for going there just for a drink, it was fine dining
    and no violent episodes ever occurred. There are restaurants in the Beacon Hill area where you
    can’t go in just for a drink & sit at the bar, you have to EAT. The bar runs perfect, no violence,
    no screaming & yelling in this establishment, they refuse to put up with any crap, like we do in the No.
    End. Beacon Hill runs a tight ship, unlike the North End. I wish these people the very best, but
    never, ever at any Residents’ Expense. If I was a restaurant owner, which I am not, because
    it is like you are married to the business, of course, the 1st thing I would want is a liquor license,
    because that is where the big money is involved. Mike and Steve with all do respect, you don’t
    know the half of what really goes on in this neighborhood with the local establishments, and
    unfortunately other establishments have to suffer for the insanity that goes on when these
    places close at 1 am, or 2 am. Let us hope and pray this does NOT turn out to be another
    knock down, fall down drunken establishment that when the place closes that people are
    fighting, urinating, vomiting and causing the residents to lose another night’s sleep because
    of too much liquor being served. I wish this family the very best, they are great people but
    the people that frequent most of our No. End establishments are NOT, and that is a FACT.

  5. I am sure Donato will do a nice thing with Davide. There is nothing wrong with families who live there being a little concerned about relaxing the license. That is what they bought into. That is their right to stand up for themselves and negotiate. Sounds like the parties are pretty close to resolving their differences.

  6. I don’t know what goes on in the neighborhood? I have lived here my whole life and have worked I’m numerous restaurants. With all due respect it’s you that doesn’t know what’s going on.Problems don’t arise with places that focus primarily on food and close at 11:30 like donato wants to do. I have had numerous problems late at night with people urinating and acting up leaving bars and it has never been from a restaurant that closes at 11:30.. Donatos restaurant on Hanover street has a full bar where you don’t have to eat to sit at and have there ever been any problems there? No, because they are a restaurant first and don’t stay open till 2. The problem isn’t the business fault. It’s the residents and landlords fault for renting to people who don’t respect the neighborhood. 99 percent of the people pissing in the street are residents or are staying with residents and half of them come from the Faneuil hall and downtown area.

  7. Directing bicycle traffic off of Commercial Street and onto the currently pedestrian-only sidewalk in the stretch between Charter Street and North Washington Street seems like a series of accidents waiting to happen…with pedestrians taking the brunt of the impact as cyclists accustomed to designated lanes navigate at high speeds around those sharp corners. If these planners are really so concerned about separating bicycles from pedestrians all the way along the rest of the proposed route, why aren’t they concerned about the fact that now they are putting pedestrians directly into the path of bicycles behind the skating rink, where now (if cyclists obey the rules of the road) that problem does not exist? It doesn’t make sense.

    On a positive note, I think the neighborhood council members asked excellent questions of Mr. Gupta and the consultants. From what I heard at the meeting, the bottom line is: most people in this neighborhood don’t think we need more bike lanes. We need smoother traffic flow on Commercial (especially southbound towards the Greenway at rush hour), more parking, and cleaner streets way, way ahead of a brand new designated cycle track.

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