November 4 2019

Selectmen Get Updates on Two Liquor License Held by Closed Restaurants

By: Rich Hosford

The Board of Selectmen held to public hearings during the meeting Monday night to get updates on outstanding liquor licenses at the Burlington Mall. 


The hearings were held as part of the board’s push to keep up with the status of licenses not in use to ensure the license holders are working to get them transferred so they can function as economic drivers for the town. The move came, in part, as a response to an ongoing issue with the Beer Works license that was transferred in 2015 and still is not in use and has not yet been transferred to another party with plans in the work to open up a restaurant. 


The first license in question this week was the one previously used by Uno’s Chicago Grill in the Burlington Mall. The restaurant closed in January of 2018 and in July of this year the board was told they should expect a request to have it transferred soon. 


Attorney Mark Vaughan of Riemer & Braustein, representing both the mall owner Simon Properties and the restaurant group behind the incoming Karma restaurant, told the board they would officially request the transfer in December. 


“We have been before the Planning Board and had the special permit approved,” Vaughan said. “We did today file the license transfer application.” 


Vaughan said Karma, an upscale Asian-fusion restaurant, will occupy the remainder of the former Uno’s location not currently being used by Frank Pepe’s Pizzeria. 


“The former Uno’s space was large for a restaurant and the right side is Frank Pepe’s,” Vaughan said. “This space would be the balance on the left looking at it from the mall parking lot.”


When asked by board members how the set-up will work, Vaughan said the restaurant will only have an outside entrance and will not be connected to the mall corridor. He also said there are plans for a “nice doorway with an overhang” for customers to use. 


The board voted 4-0-0 to continue the public hearing to the December 16 meeting for a likely vote on the liquor license transfer. 


The second license discussed in a public hearing was the one previously held by Besito’s, also in the Burlington Mall. The restaurant closed in July of 2018 and in July of 2019 the board was told the license was currently under negotiation. 


Vaughan said a tenant has been identified for the location and Simon Properties is currently finalizing a deal on the lease. This should happen within the next couple of weeks and then the process of obtaining a special permit from the Planning Board would begin. 


Vaughan said that due to the Board of Selectmen’s preference that all special permit and zoning issues be finalized before a request for a liquor license transfer be made it would likely be early next year before they were ready to file that application. He also said that until the lease is finalized he is not at liberty to reveal the name of the new restaurant tenant. 


The board voted to continue the public hearing until December 16 for an update with the understanding it would likely be continued again until all necessary approvls from the Planning Board are obtained.


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