Ledge Kitchen & Drinks, a popular restaurant and bar credited with being a catalyst for the business district in Lower Mills, will soon have a new owner and a new name. The matter went before the city's Licensing Board today for approval. The board is expected to render its decision on Thursday.
Eleanor Arpino, general manager of Davio's in Park Square for 12 years, wants to turn the Ledge into ester, which she said would serve "contemporary comfort food." The restaurant "would be very much approachable for families" and would serve the sort of food she hoped people would buy as takeout two to three times a week.
If she wins board approval, Arpino would pay $275,000 just for the Ledge's liquor license.
Arpino would continue to operate the 60-seat outdoor patio - as well as the 140-seat dining room. In addition to Arpino, the new restaurant would have four owners - her husband and Milton and Jamaica Plain residents.
Representatives of city councilors Frank Baker and Ayanna Pressley both spoke in favor of the proposed sale. Nobody spoke against it.
Several sources had previously confirmed that an agreement has been reached to sell the business to a limited partnership, 2261 Dot, LLC, headed by Arpino, a Lower Mills resident. The current owners are Brendan and Greg Feeney, principals of the Feeney Brothers construction firm and local businessman Michael Ahern, who converted the former Donovan’s Village eatery in 2009. The Feeneys will continue to own the real estate after the common victualer and liquor licenses are exchanged.
Arpino is a restaurant consultant who worked for 11 years until 2009 as vice president of operations for Davio’s and Avila restaurants. Since 2010, she has operated an eponymous restaurant consultant business, and has advised two local clients, Flatblack Coffee and Ledge. She is a graduate of Boston University and Northeastern University.
Arpino gave the first public news of the impending sale last week at a meeting of the Lower Mills Merchants Association. In an interview on Monday, she said she will seek approval from the City of Boston Licensing Board to transfer the license.
“We are going before the Licensing Board on Wednesday to transfer the license, then to the state for further approval; there could be a delay due to the holidays,” Arpino told The Reporter on Monday.
Following those hearings, she said there will be a 30-day period for public comment, prior to the sale being finalized. 2261 Dot, LLC was registered with the state on Aug. 7, at Arpino’s residence, 35 Packard Ave.
In an e-mail she provided to the Reporter, Arpino said LLC members include herself, Anita Lauricella of Jamaica Plain, Cheryl Tougias and George Tougias of Milton, and Charles Schoonover of Dorchester. Arpino is listed as general manager along with front of the house manager Luther Pinckney and kitchen manager and chef G. Esteban Gallego. Arpino said that once the sale is approved, the new owners plan some renovations.
“We plan to close the restaurant for, we hope, only one month to take care of maintenances things – a new kitchen floor, the heating system, better and more efficient kitchen flow,” she said.
Such a time frame would put the re-opening in the late winter or early spring. She said that when the facility reopens the name Ledge will be gone, and new signage will appear.
In a document she provided to the Reporter, Arpino said the goal is for the re-named restaurant to “be an unpretentious eating and drinking establishment that is a respected neighborhood staple that contributes to the continuous improvement and economic development of the community. With integrity as a priority our goal is to support nearby businesses, our community and the environment. We will strive to provide guests with a dining choice that will compliment and enrich the neighborhood dining options.”
Adam Gaffin contributed to this story.