JPNC Public Service Committee approves two requests from business owners

The Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council Public Service Committee met virtually on September 8, where it heard and approved two requests from local business owners.

7 BURROUGHS ST.

The first proposal was from Nicole Gunn, owner of Cada Dia Nutrition, who wants to open a healthy smoothie and tea shop at 7 Burroughs Ave. with operating hours of 6:00am to 6:00pm.

Gunn explained that in February, she and her business partner opened On The Edge Nutrition, or OTEN, in South Boston, which offers energizing tea, smoothies, and other pre and post workout products. She said that the concept “worked so well in South Boston” that she wanted to open her own nutrition club in Jamaica Plain, a place she said she is very familiar with, as she used to live in the neighborhood and still has connections with neighbors.

“Cada Dia” means “every day” in Spanish, so she said she wants to bring healthy beverages to the JP community with her own version of the concept. She is the sole owner of the location. Her smoothies are powder-based and are blended with water and ice only. No dairy products or dairy substitutes will be used on the premises. The teas are instant herbal teas mixed with flavoring and coloring that dissolve in water.

She said that many of the orders at the South End location are done online, and then people come to pick up their drink.

“Each place we plan to open up is going to be themed different,” Gunn said. “OTEN caters to the younger crowd,” while her vision for Cada Dia is “cultural” and “inclusive,” she said. 

She said she plans on having six seats inside the cafe and no outdoor seating. She said that especially with COVID-19 restrictions, people generally come to get their order and leave quickly and she does not anticipate lingering at the location. “The takeout model works perfect,” she said.

Gunn said she does not believe that Cada Dia would be a competitor with nearby Carrot Flower or Juicygreens, as they sell different types of products.

She said she would probably just place a decal on the windows and the door identifying the shop, and as of right now isn’t really considering putting signage directly on the building. She is also figuring out how she can accommodate dog owners with an outdoor water bowl and a potential place to tie up dogs outside while people run in to grab their drinks. She said she will look into offering the menu descriptions in both Spanish and English, but many of the products will already have names in other languages, such as Papiamento, which is an homage to Gunn’s Aruban heritage.

JP resident Peter Elmuts said that this proposal “sounds great” and welcomed Gunn’s business to JP.  Another neighbor praised the fact that Gunn is an independent business owner.

She is looking to open the shop by the end of September, and she said she is trying to figure out how to have a socially distanced grand opening.

The Committee recommended approval of the request for a 7-day common victualler license with the hours of 6:00am to 8:00pm.

264 HYDE PARK AVE.

Ernis De Los Santos, owner of Mangú Dominican Bistro at 264 Hyde Park Ave., requested a change in hours at his location. Currently, his 7-day common victualler license allows him to operate from 8:00am to 9:00pm, but he would like to extend those hours to be open until 1:00am in order to try and drum up more business to stay afloat as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

He said that the restaurant, which has been in business since late 2017, is “facing tough times now,” as the restaurant was closed for four months beginning in March to protect the health of employees and customers.

He said the main reason for wanting to expand the hours is because “we have the potential to increase sales at night” using food delivery services such as GrubHub, DoorDash, and Uber Eats.

“We’re trying to extend our hours to increase our sales to keep the business open,” he said. “The purpose is only for take out.” He stressed that he does not want to extend the hours for dine in. The restaurant does not serve alcohol, and De Los Santos said he does not anticipate a lot of noise or people gathering near the restaurant.

He said there are two hour parking spots in the front and on the side of the building, as well as a lot across the street by the laundromat with parking spaces.

There were several comments in favor and against the extension to 1:00am. Some residents were concerned about parking and about the potential for people to sit in their cars with loud music blaring while they eat their food. Others were concerned about traffic and availability of parking as well.

“This is something that we’re going to try,” De Los Santos said. “I’m trying to be positive that we’re not going to have any issues.” He said he will ensure that no noise is created because of the extension in hours.

Neighbor Rob Langevin had concerns surrounding the proposal. He said that other businesses in the area are not open that late, and he wondered if De Los Santos would be “really gaining that much by staying open those two to three extra hours.” He said it would be “hard to avoid an increase in noise” with the restaurant being open that late. He said he would support the business staying open until 10:00pm rather than 9:00pm “during COVID as long as the pandemic continues,” but “I think 1:00am is too late for the neighborhood,” he said.

De Los Santos stressed that this would be a pilot to see how it would turn out, and said that if a significant amount of business is not drawn from having the later hours, then he would close earlier again.

Other neighbors said they were strongly in favor of the later hours and would appreciate being able to get food later on in the night.

Committee member Omer Hecht said that “unfortunately, we all live in the city; this is part of the deal. There are businesses here that are open until 1am.” He said that they could demand of De Los Santos that a manager is always in charge and that a phone number is available to the community for neighbors to call with any complaints.

De Los Santos said that he has no problem sharing his cell phone number with the neighborhood, and people can also call the restaurant number with any complaints.

Another suggestion was made for a midnight closing rather than a 1:00am closing, but after further discussion the Committee voted seven to one to approve of the 1:00am closing time for takeout and delivery only.

“If you guys see an issue, you’re more than welcome to let me know,” De Los Santos said.

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