Preparing for their brick-and-mortar opening in late November, Roxy’s Gourmet Grilled Cheese, one of Boston’s most popular food trucks, started a petition on Change.org on Friday to obtain a liquor license.
James DiSabatino, one of the three co-founders of Roxy’s, said one of the challenges the company is facing is getting a liquor license for the restaurant. They wanted to serve beer and wine at the opening of their brick-and-mortar restaurant at 485 Cambridge St. in Union Square, but were unable to do so without the license.
“[Beer and wine] perfectly complements the food we do,” he said. “We have a lot of great relationships with a lot of local breweries, and we want to be able leverage those to open a place that is going to be a shining star in the neighborhood.”
Boston Licensing Board Chair Nicole Ferrer said restaurants in Massachusetts must apply for a liquor license due to Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission regulations.
“If the local board finds that there is a public need for the license of the location … you go back to the ABCC, and if the ABCC approves the license, it comes back to the local board, and [only] at that time you are issued the license,” she said.
Chris Reddy, Roxy’s truck manager in Allston, said the license is mostly about supporting local breweries.
“It would support the local business, and it would open up our clientele for people who are looking to have a beer with their sandwich,” he said. “Licensing is really tough in the state of Massachusetts and the city of Boston, and especially because we are coming from a food truck … they want to know the local community is behind it. We haven’t really had an issue with that, a lot of people support it.”
DiSabatino said Allston is the perfect location for his more permanent store.
“The spot we found in Allston felt like a really good fit for us,” he said. “The neighborhood has really changed a lot over the last few years, [and] we thought that Allston would be a good investment to put a really cool place there.”
Although the expansion has been more complicated than he expected, DiSabatino said working with familiar faces is helpful.
“It’s a similar to opening a new truck, you’re dealing with a lot of the same people and a lot of the same departments in Boston,” he said. “It’s a relief going into a process that you’re somewhat familiar with.”
Some residents said they were in support of Roxy’s obtaining a liquor license for the restaurant.
Erica Butera, 24, resident of Brighton, said the company is taking the right steps in expanding.
“If a restaurant wants to have a liquor license, I think that’s fine,” she said. “It’s gonna bring more people in. Some people want to have beer with their grilled cheese. I don’t see any issue with it.”
Benjy Ogden, 24, resident of Brookline, said opening a restaurant and obtaining a liquor license at the same time could be too much to take on.
“I don’t think [petitioning for] liquor licenses should be required … so I’m obviously in support of them being able to get it,” he said. “I think it’s a good idea if they can make it, but I worry about the fixed costs that come with having a restaurant versus the more limited costs that come with running a truck, [so] they open themselves to a lot more regulation.”
Richelle Chin, 22, resident of Boston, said the license will add variety for customers.
“It gives something for everyone,” she said. “Having a liquor license at a place doesn’t necessarily mean you have to drink there. It’s a nice option for people who do like to enjoy a beer with something.”