By DAN TOMASELLO
LYNNFIELD — A new Mediterranean restaurant is going to be opening at MarketStreet Lynnfield later this summer despite an abutter’s objection.
Atty. Bill Kelley appeared at the Select Board’s meeting on Monday to request the board to approve the Kiwi Restaurant Group, LLC’s request for all-alcohol, common victualler and entertainment licenses for the new La Gallina Mediterranean Eatery and Bar. The restaurant will be located at 1150 Market St., which was previously home to California Pizza Kitchen.
“The restaurant will be in operation seven days a week,” said Kelley.
Kelley said La Gallina’s principal owners are Matthias Kiehm and James Wierzelewski. He said Randy Hill will be the new restaurant’s general manager.
Kiehm recalled that his wife’s family has lived in town since 1973. He said his wife graduated from Lynnfield High School, and his late father-in-law owned the North Shore-based Captain Pizza chain.
“My mother-in-law still lives on Daventry Court,” said Kiehm. “We thought it would be great to come back and continue the tradition. James and I have been in the business for over 30 years.”
Kelley said Hill has been certified with TIPS alcohol serving training.
“There is a business plan to have all waiters, waitresses and bartenders also complete a TIPS server training course,” said Kelley. “The business has a server training seminar set up for this Saturday. They don’t just want to do the bare minimum. They want to be proactive and do more than that.”
Select Board Chairman Phil Crawford said La Gallina will be “a nice fit” to MarketStreet Lynnfield.
“We take alcohol licenses very seriously,” said Crawford. “TIPS training and server training is a must for a restaurant to get its license, and we enforce it pretty strongly. We don’t want to see overdrinking or underage drinking. As long as everyone is complying with that, I would love to see the restaurant up and running.”
Select Board member Dick Dalton recalled that Atty. Kelley previously served as the general counsel to the Alcohol Beverages Control Commission (ABCC). He said Kelley is familiar with the rules and regulations when it comes to serving alcohol.
“I think it’s going to be a great fit and location,” said Dalton.
Dalton asked Kiehm why it has taken so long for La Gallina Mediterranean Eatery and Bar to open.
Kiehm said supply chain issues delayed the delivery of the restaurant’s new kitchen equipment.
“What used to take four to six weeks can now take up to a year,” said Kiehm. “We didn’t want to open without a refrigerator.”
Walnut Street resident David Moynihan aired concerns about Kiehm and James Wierzelewski’s plans to open La Gallina Mediterranean Eatery and Bar at MarketStreet.
“I appreciate Mr. Crawford’s concerns about overdrinking and underage drinking, but the outside seating is a concern to us,” said Moynihan, who attended the meeting with his wife. “This restaurant’s outdoor seating area is the closest one to our house. We have had ongoing issues with music, noise and light spillover from MarketStreet since its inception. We still have an issue today that MarketStreet General Manager Charlotte Woods is attempting to fix.”
Moynihan said he has previously complained to Lynnfield Police about the outdoor mall’s “excessive music and excessive noise” at 1 and 2 a.m.
“Alcohol is a catalyst for louder voices and unruly behavior, which is something the town doesn’t need,” said Moynihan. “I also don’t need to see stringing lights because it comes right into our windows.”
Moynihan asked Kiehm to address his concerns.
“If the answer is satisfactory to me, you won’t hear an objection,” said Moynihan. “If I am not happy with what I hear, you can register me as an objection.”
In response to a question from Crawford, Kiehm said La Gallina’s main outdoor dining area will be an existing patio that California Pizza Kitchen previously used.
“It’s in front of the restaurant,” said Kiehm. “WS Development has asked us to operate an additional patio on the outside that has about 40 seats. There will be alcohol service outside.”
Kiehm also said the restaurant will have background music playing, and the patio area will have lighting.
“There will be no live music,” said Kiehm. “There is a plan to have string lights in order to provide ample lighting. I am sure we can find a solution to the string lighting.”
Moynihan objected to La Gallina Mediterranean Eatery and Bar’s plan to expand the restaurant’s outdoor seating area.
“I have heard all the time that they will make sure it is right and they will work with you,” said Moynihan. “I have been hearing that since the mall opened. It’s mission creep, which is common in business. They will say whatever is needed to get the result they want, but then it changes. That is exactly my concern. If I hear piped in music, what is going to happen? Am I going to have to call the police, the mall or the restaurant? Why do I have to deal with this? My family has been in this town since 1956, and my wife’s family has been in town since 1957. We did not come into their backyard; they came into ours. I am not happy.”
Crawford asked Kiehm if he has read the rules and regulations for MarketStreet businesses.
Kiehm said yes.
Crawford urged Kiehm to be respectful to MarketStreet’s neighbors.
“The abutters who live the closest are going to be affected the most, and that has to be taken into consideration,” said Crawford. “There are several homeowners who live on Walnut Street who are affected by the noise from MarketStreet, and the new restaurant will be the closest to them. Just keep that in mind. We expect you to comply with the regulations.”
After the discussion, the Select Board approved the all-alcohol, common victualler and entertainment licenses for La Gallina Mediterranean Eatery and Bar.