Published in the September 29, 2015 edition.


WAKEFIELD — A sports bar is a step closer to opening in downtown Wakefield after last night’s meeting of the Board of Selectmen.

In a public hearing, the board voted unanimously to approve a number of licenses and permits, including a full liquor license, that would allow a sports bar/restaurant called “Caryn’s” to open at 395-397 Main St. in the space currently occupied by the Duck Walk.

No one from the public appeared at the hearing to speak on the matter.

Representing Leanne Wheeler, the prospective owner of Caryn’s, attorney Brian McGrail said that the owner of the Duck Walk had decided to not to renew his lease and to close the restaurant.
McGrail said that Caryn’s has agreed to purchase assets owned by the Duck Walk and to open a new restaurant in the same space.

He said that Wheeler has entered into a five-year lease with the owner of the building, with two five-year renewal options. The building is also home to Sakura Organic and Philip Ciampa Salons.

McGrail said that Wheeler’s plan is to open a sports-themed restaurant with American fare. There will be a wide variety of appetizers and salads as well as chicken, beef and fish entrees, he said.

Caryn’s will have 99 seats, which McGrail said was three fewer than the Duck Walk. Up to 20 of the seats will be at the bar. He said that the plan is to also offer outdoor seating but that any seats on the sidewalk would be included in the total of 99.

In the spirit of a sports bar, McGrail said that every seat in the restaurant would have views of multiple TVs showing sports events.

Caryn’s will be open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, McGrail said. The requested hours of operation were 11 a.m. to 1 a.m., but McGrail said that realistically it would likely close earlier on Sunday through Wednesday nights.

While the premises have been well maintained and are in excellent condition, McGrail said that Wheeler plans to invest up to $140,000 to turn the space into a sports bar. The current box sign will also be replaced with one that meets the requirements of the current sign bylaw, McGrail said.

He noted that Wheeler would be the manager of the liquor license. He pointed out that she had worked as a function manager and bartender at the Hilltop Restaurant in Saugus from 2007 to 2013 and had also worked as a function manager at Clarion Inn in Wakefield and at Colonial Hall at Rockefellers in Salem. Wheeler is TIPS certified, McGrail said, and all employees serving alcohol will also be TIPS certified.

The selectmen voted unanimously to approve the all alcohol license, the requested hours (11 a.m. – 1 a.m.), a common victualler’s license and an entertainment license (for the TVs).

The board also approved a request for alteration of the premises and made a finding that the proposed liquor license will not be detrimental to the educational or spiritual activities of schools and churches within 500 feet of the location.

Asked when Wheeler planned to begin work on the premises, McGrail said that it now depended entirely on how fast the state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission processes the application. The transaction with the owner of Duck Walk will be completed after ABCC approval. McGrail said that Wheeler hoped to begin renovations as soon as October but it would depend on the ABCC’s timetable.

Members of the board congratulated Wheeler and wished her the best of luck.

“It’s much needed downtown, said Selectman Patrick Glynn. “I think you’ll do well.”