October 22 2018

Liquor License Transfer Approved for Yard House Restaurant

By: Rich Hosford

A project for a new restaurant looking to set up in the former Chili’s location got one step closer to completion on Monday.

The Burlington Board of Selectmen voted 4-0-0 to approve the transfer of the all-alcohol liquor license from Chili’s Grill & Dining to Yard House USA for the incoming Yard House.

Yard House, founded in 1996, is an American sports bar chain with over 60 locations in the country, the majority of which can be found in the western part of the nation. More recently east coast locations have been opened, including one in Legacy Place in Dedham. The franchise was purchased by Darden Restaurants in 2012 for $585 million. Darden Restaurants is one of the largest restaurant owners in the world with such franchises as The Olive Garden, Capital Grille and Seasons 15 among others.

During the meeting Attorney Joseph Devlin, representing Yard House, said the plan calls for the complete teardown of the existing Chili’s building and the building of a new roughly $10,000 square foot restaurant at a cost of about $13 million. The restaurant will seat over 200 people inside with another 100 patio seats when the weather allows.

He said the menu is a fusion of American, Asian and Mexican selections.

“It’s really good scratch kitchen offerings from a culinary-trained staff,” he said.

He said the price-range of the restaurant is somewhere between a fast casual restaurant and a high-end one.

“It’s not the highest price tag like a Capital Grill but also not as low as a fast casual restaurant like a Chili’s,” he explained.

Members of the board had a couple of questions about the service of alcohol. They especially wanted to know if there was going to be at-the-bar service for those waiting for a table.

Devlin explained there will be a cafe-style section in the center of the restaurant where patrons can be served a drink but there was no way for customers to simply walk up to the bar and order something themselves.

“It’s full service everywhere,” he said.

The selectmen also wanted to ensure that the restaurant management was aware of Burlington’s bylaws on alcohol service - that is in service of eating and no customer can be served more than two drinks without ordering food.

David Campo, who will be the interim manager of record for the restaurant during the opening, said he understood.

“We have a drink service that enhances our offerings but we are restaurant people,” he said.

The board approved the transfer of the license with a 4-0-0 vote. They also unanimously voted to approve an Alteration of Premises and the approval of Campo as the new manager.

Devlin said construction on the site should start in the spring of 2019 and the restaurant will likely be open by late in the year or early 2020.


Editor's note: This story has been changed to say the restaurant will likely be open in late 2019 or early 2020, the original said late 2018 or early 2019.


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