Public Service Committee Approves All-Alcohol License

The Public Service Committee of the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council met virtually on July 6, where members voted to approve with provisos an all-alcoholic beverages license for Bukhara Indian Bistro at 3698 Washington St. with takeout, an entertainment license for one TV, and business hours of 11:00am to 11:00pm.

 Attorney Marci Costa explained that the establishment already has a beer and wine license, but the owners are looking to expand that to all alcoholic beverages to be able to offer traditional Indian cocktails with their meals.

Costa said that restaurant’s manager is Manraj Pabla, and there was some confusion amongst committee members about the ownership and management, as there have been some changes over the years.

Costa said that Pabla is “also the owner/operator of the entity that will be the licensee and of the business,” adding that Pabla’s father and uncle will be assisting with the management and operation of the restaurant.

“The were affiliated with the previous restaurant and licensee, however that partnership is no longer in existence,” she said.  “They moved in 2019 to this location, created this new entity, and have been operating this restaurant under this entity separate from that old one.

The concept of the restaurant, the food, the vision behind it, all of that, is reminiscent of what the restaurant used to be, however, this new entity is unrelated and the proposed licensee unrelated to that. They’re operating solely on their own in this new space.”

The restaurant used to be located on Centre St. and had a beer and wine with liquor license.

Committee chair Michael Reiskind asked why that license wasn’t moved with the restaurant when it relocated to Washington St.

 Costa said that while the whole “concept” for the restaurant remained the same during the move, the “entity that is controlling the license is a new entity,” so it could not be carried over, and she said that it would “make more sense” to ask for the all-alcohol license from the get-go.

 She said that the Washington St. location, which has been Bukhara’s home since 2019, offers 51 seats, including 12 at the bar.

 She assured residents that everything will remain the same as part of this proposal; the owners would just like to have an all-alcoholic beverages license.

 Costa said that the “focus is on alcohol with a meal,” but would not necessarily prohibit someone from coming in just for a drink.

 That sparked discussion amongst the committee members. Reiskind said “I might ask if they would voluntarily take a restriction and say alcohol served with food only or while waiting for a table. Almost all the restaurants in Jamaica Plain voluntarily take that,” he said.

“Yeah, we’ll absolutely take it into consideration,” Costa said. “We’re really looking to work with your group and the community as a whole and just make sure that it’s a really great partnership and everybody is, you know, really satisfied with everything that’s happening at the premises.”

Reiskind also asked about security grates and trash collection outside of the restaurant. Costa said that the front door has a “see through” security grate, and the owners say they clean the area outside of the restaurant several times a day.

Costa said that a virtual abutters meeting is scheduled for July 15 with the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services.

 “I’m not sure how we can vote when we don’t know what the neighbors want,” said committee member Dottie Farrell.

 “We have a wider range of flyering,” Reiskind said. “I feel comfortable with the lack of people coming out opposed to this.” No one spoke either in favor or in opposition of the proposal at this committee meeting.

Committee member Robin Cheung added that at future meetings, “residents want to hear from the owners” and less from the attorney.

 The committee unanimously approved the proposal with the proviso that liquor only be served with food or when waiting for a table, and the approval stands only if there is no opposition at the abutters meeting next week. 

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