March 15 2018

Total Allowed Occupancy Raises Concerns in Hearing for Incoming High End Seafood Restaurant

By: Rich Hosford

The total allowed occupancy of an incoming high-end seafood restaurant was a point of some contention among members of the Board of Selectmen on Monday.


Representatives of Eddie V’s Prime Seafood were at the meeting for a public hearing to transfer the liquor license from the closed Romano’s Macaroni Grill to the incoming restaurant. They were also looking to officially designate a temporary manager of record for the establishment.


Members of the board had few questions or concerns about the project, which entails a complete tear-down of the existing building and the construction of a new, nearly 10,000 square feet, $7.9 million restaurant. One issue, raised by Selectman Bob Hogan, was that the plans stated that while the establishment will have 302 seats for guests the total occupancy allowed was 437 people.


Hogan said this was a concern because of Burlington’s bylaw that states the serving of drinks must be a function of dining. Specifically, a restaurant can only serve a customer two alcoholic beverages without that person ordering a meal. He said he was worried that with this much allowable occupancy there could be people milling around the bar and it would be difficult to enforce the bylaw.


Attorney Joseph Devlin, representing The Darden Company, the restaurant group that owns the Eddie V’s restaurant, said the listed allowable occupancy was based solely on the the size of the restaurant.


“The occupancy is just a function of the square footage of the premises,” he said. “It’s just based on a calculation of an equation that determines occupancy.”


Devlin added that the concept of Eddie V’s, a fine-dining experience with high-end service, goes against the idea of people hanging around the bar. He said that any given time only a few customers waiting for their table to be ready would be drinking in the bar area.


Still, Hogan said he wanted to see the number lowered to ease his concerns.


“We’ve had people come in here with distorted numbers and people were able to hang around the bar for hours,” he said. “So I’m reluctant to approve.”


Devlin said he would be able to go back and bring plans that would have an occupancy that reflected the number of seats, the staff and some delivery people.


The board voted to continue the hearing to the next meeting.  


When opened this will be the first or second Eddie V’s in the state, depending on when one approved for the Prudential Center in Boston is completed. If plans work out as expected they will knock down the existing building in June or July and immediately begin construction. They hope to end at the end of the year or in early 2019.


On its website the restaurant says it is known for fresh seafood but they have a wide range of options. They also stress the dining experience customers will enjoy.


“Seafood is what we’re known for, but our specialty is excellence,” they say. “Fish arrive daily from pristine waters around the world including swordfish from Block Island, scallops from George Banks, and yellowfin tuna from the Caribbean. USDA Prime steaks are hand cut and specially aged for more than 28 days to ensure peak flavor. Devotion to excellence is the guiding principle in all that we do. From making fresh tortillas by hand daily for our lobster tacos to including a full half-pound of Jumbo Lump crab meat in our crab cakes, we strive to go above and beyond in every step of preparation. Our intent: to prepare the finest meal you’ve ever had.”


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