Yesterday, the Boston Licensing Board paved the way for some Boston restaurants to allow BYOB, reports UHub. (Applications will likely begin in the spring — the forms have to be designed first.) The new regulation gives restaurants that (a) don’t already have a liquor license and (b) are located in neighborhoods that don’t have many licenses available the chance to apply for a $400 BYOB license, which would allow customers to bring in wine bottles up to 750 ml, as well as beer bottles and growlers. Other rules: no cordials or hard liquor, no running out to pick up another bottle in the middle of the meal, no corkage fee, and no BYOB before 5 p.m. or after 11 p.m. UHub notes that a number of neighborhoods remain ineligible under the new regulation, including the North End, South End, Back Bay, Chinatown, and more.
In other booze news, Massachusetts is embarking on “the most extensive rethinking of how the state regulates alcohol since the end of Prohibition,” reports The Boston Globe. A new task force is setting out to bring liquor laws into modern times and will gather input from distributors, brewers, bars, the public, and more. Issues on the table include liquor license caps, growler reuse, restaurant BYOB, package store hours, and beyond.
South End Evolution
Boston Herald’s Scott Kearnan takes a look at the evolution of dining in the South End, from when it was a “restaurant wasteland” a few decades back to a “trendy hot spot” for quite some time. And now? “It has ceded funkiness,” he writes, “but in favor of storied and reliable neighborhood restaurants mixed with some classy recent newcomers.”
Still in the Works
Fenway restaurant Symphony 8, which shuttered in 2013, is still on its way to a comeback, owner Douglas Bacon told the licensing board this week, according to UHub. (Bacon was there to defend his continued holding of the restaurant’s inactive liquor license.) He’s now aiming for a July 15 reopening following years of renovations. Bacon is also behind a number of other Boston restaurants, including The Hopewell Bar & Kitchen and White Horse Tavern.
Cooking the Book
Epicurious’ Adina Steiman spent a day-long cooking marathon trying out the new Sofra cookbook by Ana Sortun and Maura Kilpatrick, Soframiz: Vibrant Middle Eastern Recipes from Sofra Bakery and Cafe. The morning started out rough when Steiman had to make some substitutions for hard-to-find ingredients, but breakfast (shakshuka) ended up a “triumph.” Lunch was “a big pile of cheesy, biscuit-like Feta and Dill Pogaca rolls,” and then it was on to prepping “an avalanche of mezze recipes for dinner.” In the end, as a “parade of dishes completely covered the table,” there were many successes — particularly the lamb-topped hummus. (Here’s an adaptation of that recipe by food writer and cookbook author David Lebovitz.)
And in Vermont
Speaking of Sofra, an alum of its sister restaurant Oleana, Cara Chigazola-Tobin, has a Burlington, Vermont restaurant in the works called Honey Road, as previously reported. Starting in February, Chigazola-Tobin will begin to pop up around Vermont to preview what she’ll be serving at Honey Road, according to a newsletter. First up, catch her at Tandem Cafe in Bristol, Vermont on February 9 — first come, first served seating as well as takeout. The menu will include dishes such as pomegranate and cabbage salad with crispy pita and tahini; beet hummus with pickled cauliflower; and braised lamb chops with walnut tabouleh. On February 18, there will be another pop-up, this one at Hen of the Wood Butchery Table in Burlington, Vermont.
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