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A Proposed Taco Bell Cantina — Supposedly Without Booze — Meets Opposition in South Boston

Plus, North End patio season is about to end, DoorDash wants to give Boston restaurants some money, and more news

Taco Bell Cantina
While this Taco Bell Cantina in Vegas features boozy slush machines, the proposed South Boston location won’t have alcohol — at least not at first.
Amelinda B Lee/Eater Vegas

A year ago, Taco Bell opened one of its Taco Bell Cantina locations right by Boston University, featuring the mega-chain’s usual Tex-Mex fast food alongside beer, wine, sangria, and boozy slushes. Most (but not all) Taco Bell Cantina locations serve alcohol. Representatives for a proposed location at 449 W Broadway in South Boston told community members that they would not be seeking an alcohol license for this one — at least not initially, and then they’d see if demand warranted it and would go through the proper community channels. But they do want a 2 a.m. license right off the bat.

Over the course of a 45-minute meeting, numerous abutters to the property spoke up, saying that Taco Bell was obviously just trying to get its foot in the door and would definitely be coming back for that alcohol license later — something these abutters would not support on the over-saturated strip of West Broadway, steps from Capo, Lincoln, Stats, and other late-night bars and restaurants. “I’m just so opposed to it,” concluded one of the community members. (Added traffic from third-party delivery services, too, was cause for concern.)

A representative for the chain insisted that booze isn’t necessary for a Taco Bell to be a Taco Bell Cantina — Cantina locations “focus more on the unique murals, artwork, and decor, creating a welcoming environment” to sit and eat the fast-casual food onsite rather than grab it to go. This proposed location would have 14 seats inside in which customers could enjoy a Cheesy Gordita Crunch surrounded by what a representative described as “decor specific to South Boston — not Boston in general but Southie specifically” while not drinking boozy slushes.

North End patio season is about to end

While most Boston restaurants are permitted to keep patios open until December 1, North End patio season draws to a close on November 1. The mayor’s office is reportedly citing pre-approved construction projects, parking, neighborhood density, and other issues as reasons that set apart the North End from other neighborhoods where restaurants get an extra month of outdoor dining.

DoorDash wants to give 20 Boston restaurants $20,000 grants and training

Through October 27, the food delivery company is accepting applications for the Boston cohort of its Main Street Strong accelerator program, aimed at increasing access to opportunities for small businesses owned by women, immigrants, and the BIPOC community. Accepted restaurants will receive a $20,000 grant and eight weeks of training covering marketing, managing cash flow, and other topics. Restaurant owners who apply should operate three or fewer restaurants for two or more years and employ 50 or fewer people across all locations.

Have a seafood feast at Bow Market

At Somerville’s Bow Market, seafood shop Hooked is now serving three-course seafood dinners at Variety Bar (upstairs at Bow Market) on Wednesday nights. Keep an eye out for menu teasers on Hooked’s Instagram account, and reserve now for the October 27 dinner, which includes a lobster risotto and more, plus optional drink pairings from local bar legend Naomi Levy.

Why are some Boston convenience stores called spas?

The Curiosity Desk by GBH News explores.

Got intel that should be on Eater Boston’s radar? Contact the team here.

Bow Market

1 Bow Market Way, , MA 02143 Visit Website

Hooked Fish Shop at Bow Market

337-341 Somerville Ave., Somerville, MA 02143 Visit Website