Speaking on behalf of the young but popular Lebanese restaurant, co-owner Gus Samaha detailed the need for the license and fielded questions from the WRNC board.
Samaha said he met with neighbors last month to address their concerns about the licensure, assuring them that he did not intend to turn Al Wadi into a nightclub.
"Thank God, our dining business is booming," Samaha said. "We want to focus on that."
Instead, he said, the restaurant - which opened in August of last year - simply "wants the option" to use a microphone or have live entertainment. Samaha said when business is slow, private functions would likely necessitate at least a microphone, which would help to "boost up business." He said that the restaurant hosted a wedding last year that was hurt by its lack of a microphone. He also assured neighbors that noise would not be an issue; the restaurant was allowed to host live functions three times in 2010, and did so without a noise complaint.
"If you have not heard anything from us yet, you will not hear anything in the future," Samaha said.
Following his presentation, the board voted 7-0 to support the restaurant's bid as it begins the process.
Niles Sutphin and Paul Donovan had been scheduled to speak to the Council with an update on their proposed condo project at 5165 Washington St, but following last night's Boston Redevelopment Authority meeting, they learned they needed a variance they had previously been unaware of for off-site parking spaces. Mayor Menino's West Roxbury Coordinator, Chris Tracy, spoke on their behalf instead, saying they would still go ahead with the project, but the process had changed.
In other action on the evening...
- The Council voted unanimously to re-elect WRNC President Larry Costello, Vice President Stephen Smith, and Secretary Don Torok to their positions in annual elections...
- The Council also voted unanimously three separate times to agree to support the WRNC Zoning Committee's approval of variances at 8 Willow St., 36 Chestborough Road, and a substitution at 631A/633 VFW Parkway. The latter property, owned by Bruegger's, had already been approved as the site for Caribou's Coffee, but the project never got started. Bruegger's instead wishes to substitute Timothy's Coffee - a new coffee chain - in its place.
- Tracy urged neighborhood residents to report to the city instances wherein neighbors - particularly businesses - are not shoveling their sidewalks. "The city wants to hear about it," he said. He also made sure that residents knew that if their street needs plowing, they should call 617-635-4300. Several people at the meeting lauded the city's handling of this year's winter weather.