Board considers liquor license for Adams Corner restaurant; Pressley opposes bid

The Boston Licensing Board decides Thursday whether to grant a liquor license for a proposed restaurant at the site of a long abandoned video store in Adams Corner in Dorchester.

Julian Bolger and Shawn Ahern, who operate several liquor-serving restaurants in the city, including Tavern in the Square in Allston, Cityside in Brighton and the Playwright in South Boston, say their 200-seat Sam Maverick's would serve up family fare at 11-13 Granite Ave., where the Hollywood Video store used to be.

The mayor's office and several city councilors supported the proposal - as long as the restaurant is not allowed to stay open past midnight. Bolger and Ahern want permission to stay open until 1 on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

At-large Councilor Ayanna Pressley, however, opposed granting the license, which would be one of the 25 new licenses approved by the state legislature to spur restaurant entrepreneurs in traditionally underserved neighborhoods in Dorchester, Roxbury and Mattapan as well as in "Main Street" business districts. Unlike other liquor licenses, these cannot be resold, which would save new restaurant owners the costs of buying a license on the open market - where they can now fetch more than $300,000.

Eric White, Pressley's neighborhood liaison, told the board Pressley has nothing against Bolger and Ahern, but that Dorchester seems to have been getting the bulk of the new licenses and she wants to ensure other areas in Mattapan and Roxbury get a shot.

Nearby resident Sean Pugsley, who at first rose to speak against a 1 a.m. closing time, stood again after White spoke to support Pressley and say he actually opposed granting any liquor license at that location. He said it's unfair that none of the new licenses have gone to places such as Mattapan.

Board Chairwoman Christine Pulgini said it's not the board's fault that nobody from that neighborhood has yet to apply for one of the licenses - the numbers for which will grow to 75 over the next two years - and not the board's job to try to stir up interest in them. Besides, she added, "it's been in the newspapers," so it's hardly a secret.

Immediately following the Sam Maverick's hearing, the board heard a request for a liquor license for a proposed Nigerian restaurant in Roxbury.