Another restaurant space eyed for Savin Hill Avenue

Construction is under way at the Savin Hill site slated for a new market and neighboring condominiums. Jennifer Smith photo

The owners of the Savin Bar and Kitchen and the Flats on Savin are seeking to change the use of their ground floor commercial space to house a restaurant, adding another eating establishment to an increasingly bustling Savin Hill junction.

Ken Osherow, Driscoll Docanto, and the lawyer Charlie Tevnan briefed members at the Columbia-Savin Hill Civic Association meeting a week ago. The prime space, just steps from the Savin Hill T station, is ripe for “another restaurant” Docanto said.

“We’re here to share the idea with you” he added. “We’re still fleshing out the concept but it’s going to be something very different from the Savin Bar and Kitchen now.”

Given the history of development around that corner – the flats and SBK were approved with no parking associated with them – civic members were concerned about potential traffic.

Amy Frigulietti of City Councillor Frank Baker’s office said they were advocating for traffic calming measures near the intersection, including crossings between the SBK property and the station, where people often dash straight across the street.

Docanto noted the proximity to the train and said the new eatery would be geared toward the surrounding neighborhood, especially those who would walk over to grab a bite. A chain is not what they have in mind, he said, and they plan to confer with residents to ensure that whatever goes in has a “local neighborhood feel.”

The location sits among a few food options, including Savin Bar and Kitchen, McKenna’s Cafe, and the new Honeycomb Cafe, all also owned by Osherow.

A Mexican food option was floated as a possible fit for the space, said Docanto, who added, “We want to do something really 180 degrees different to what’s already being done.”

The team, which has no set date before the Zoning Board of Appeal, will come back to the association at a planning meeting on June 12.
Also at Monday’s meeting was James Baker, who is in the process of building a project at the nearby corner of Savin Hill Avenue and Sydney Street. He gave an update on his construction.

“We’re excited,” he said. “We’re going to try to keep the distraction to a minimum. I think it’s been pretty good so far.”

Nine condominiums are quickly rising from just behind the intersection, although the showpiece commercial building is slightly delayed due to an issue with the steel delivery, Baker said. The materials had arrived later this week.

“We’re shooting for a completion before year’s end,” Baker said, “as early as possible in the fall as can be… we think it’s going to be a real nice amenity for the neighborhood.” Workers are beginning the process of figuring out the layout for the bottom floor, which is planned to be a local market space, he said. The third floor will be occupied by a boutique fitness center. The second floor and some basement space are still open.