Published in the November 21, 2017 edition


WAKEFIELD – The Board of Selectmen took actions last week related to two restaurant liquor licenses for establishments headed in opposite directions.

They approved the modification of Caffe Italia’s liquor license to allow liquor to be served when the restaurant expands to a second floor. The board also reclaimed the liquor license of another longtime local eatery, Porto Bello, which shut its doors without formally returning its liquor license to the town.

Attorney Brian McGrail appeared at a public hearing before the board with his client, Tony Oliviero, owner of Caffe Italia and told the board that his client would like to expand the business. The restaurant currently leases and occupies the first floor at 21-23 Water Street.

McGrail said that Oliviero would like to expand the restaurant to include the second floor, which would require a modification of the liquor license by the selectmen to allow liquor service on both floors.

The second floor is currently vacant office space, McGrail told the board. The landlord, Robert Santonelli, had contemplated converting the second floor to residential use, McGrail explained, but he was then approached by Oliviero about the possibility of adding the second floor as part of the restaurant. Santonelli agreed.

The downstairs restaurant area encompasses approximately 2,800 square feet, McGrail said, and the upstairs is virtually identical, so the total square footage of the expanded eatery will be 5,600 square feet. With both floors, the total number of seats will be 167.

Selectman Brian Falvey pointed out that the eatery has a great track record with the town in terms of its liquor license. The current hours are Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. and on Sunday, 12 noon to 11:30 p.m. The hours will not change under the modified license.

During the public hearing, Daniel Benjamin of Foster Street asked if the premises were fully handicapped accessible.

McGrail said that the first floor was fully handicapped accessible, and the bathrooms are handicapped accessible on both floors. The second floor, McGrail admitted, is accessible via stairs only. However, last August the state Architectural Access Board approved a waiver of handicapped accessibility for the second floor.

The board’s vote to approve the modification of the liquor license was unanimous. In addition, the board made the required legal finding that the license will not be detrimental to religious or educational activities in the area.

Regarding Porto Bello’s liquor license, Town Administrator Stephen P. Maio told the board that the restaurant had abandoned its former location at 979 Main St. in Greenwood Plaza. He said that the town would need to revoke the liquor license for abandonment and non-use in order to be able the reassign the license at some point to another restaurant. The town has a limited number of liquor licenses.

Maio noted that the Greenwood Plaza owner would like to lease the former Porto Bello’s property to another restaurant, and it looks like a Mexican restaurant is interested in the location. The board voted unanimously to revoke Porto Bello’s liquor license.


In other business last week, the Board of Selectmen:

• Approved a one-day Liquor License for Adam Hembrough on Nov. 18, 2017 for a function at the Americal Civic Center.

• Agreed to advertise for applicants to fill a vacancy on the Council on Aging due to the resignation of Stanley Nissen.

• Agreed advertise for member of the Retirement Board to fill a vacancy.

• Approved a request from the Wakefield Republican Town Committee to appoint Marcy McCauley as one of the two Republican Registers of Voters.

• Approved a request to accept and expend gifts to the Lucius Beebe Memorial Library in the amount of $930.50 from various donors.

• Approved a request from Wakefield Firefighter Steve Bivens to hold a Muscular Dystrophy Association Boot Drive on November 22, 2017 from 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.