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Tacos until 4 a.m.? In the City that Always Sleeps? Of course not

The Boston Licensing Board today approved a new taqueria on Comm. Ave. in the heart of the ravenous BU campus, but rejected its proposal to stay open until 4 a.m.

Instead, the board voted to let El Jefe, 957 Commonwealth Ave., near Agganis Arena and Nickerson Field, stay open until 1 a.m.

At a hearing yesterday, the restaurant argued that there are few better locations to support late-night comestibles than surrounded by all those students needing a late-night food break.

But the board agreed with the local police district and the BPD licensing unit that a 4-a.m. taco place would prove a magnet for people swarming out of area bars and that would prove a burden on police resources. Board member Liam Curran said he was concerned the place would attract people "from all over Allston/Brighton and further."

Still, the board suggest that El Jefe see how it goes for a year and then, if they still think there's a market for later-night tacos, and they haven't had any issues, to submit a request to extend the hours.

The vote means that people needing to fuel themselves late at night will have to drive all the way to Soldiers Field Road near the Newton line for the IHOP or figure out how to navigate down towards South Station for the South Street Diner. Or order take in from the late-night Domino's or brave a sugar rush from the late-night Insomnia Cookies.

This is the second time El Jefe has tried to open later than snoozy Bostonians would like. In 2020, the licensing board rejected its request to keep a proposed outlet on the first floor of an Emerson dorm at Tremont and Boylston streets open until 2 a.m. after nearby residents objected.

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Comments

A few ambitious licensing attorneys with an ally in the mayor's office could knock this problem out once and for all. Round up the last, say, 30 applicants who were denied for hours later than 1 a.m. and who are plainly in a spot where they aren't going to bother any obstreperous neighborhood groups (seriously, the closest residences to here are on the other side of the widest street in the city and not even in the city to boot). Get all of their applications for 4 a.m. or 24-hour operations lined up onto the same agenda. Then boom, you have 30 new places with these hours, and no worries about overtaxing police resources with a trouble spot because there are 30 new places and not just one, so people can spread out as they choose.

Would have never been worth bothering to try before Wu. Why not try now, what am I missing here?

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Voting closed 80

Not a bad idea actually. This reminded me of the arguments against weed shots initially. Because early shops were packed with customers neighbors did not want one near them. The issue being that the lack of shops was leading to wild crazy lines of people. Now that dozens are open I haven't seen an outdoor line for any of them for almost a year.

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Organizing this sort of thing is probably the main hurdle.

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Live on Park Vale. When the Kells was open, I couldn't hear the music or the crowds outside but the foot traffic on our street to cut to Comm Ave after they closed were loud and aggressive, as were the people who parked on our street so they didn't have to take taxis or the T (but still drank). This is why they have to apply and be reviewed on the impact to the surrounding area. AB imports a lot of it's assholes Th, Fri, and Sat nights so I'm glad there's something putting the brakes on. I'm very pro taco but the odds of someone at 4 am looking for munchies being drunk is pretty high. They also didn't say no, they said ask again later once we can see how this goes. That's a measured response.

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JUST LET THEM STAY OPEN UNTIL 4 JESUS CHRIST WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS STUPID CITY AHHHHHHHHHHHH

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Voting closed 123

But then cops might have to do their job!!1

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So the police are essentially allowed to shut this down because they *believe* it will cause crime? Do they have to make their case first?

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They never actually mentioned crime, it was an inference.

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Wtf is wrong with our liquor licensing board that they feel the need to reject something *because* lots of people would potentially benefit from it, especially in a neighborhood with essentially zero abutting residents??

Never mind that countless studies now show that crime is much more likely in front of closed businesses than open ones.

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Voting closed 67

cuz NIMBY, yall!

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that's the tweet.

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is that they attract people that like to regulate things. There are plenty of things that need regulating, for the health and safety of the public, etc., but the Licensing Board goes beyond that. They seem to regard themselves as responsible for the creation and maintenance of well-behaved neighborhoods, and entitled to veto anything that doesn't fit with their design. It's understandable that they sometimes need to adjudicate between the conflicting needs/desires/demands of neighbors, and of course they should be skeptical of applications from persons with histories of criminality or bad business practices, but they shouldn't be refusing licenses because of some terrible scenario that they have managed to imagine, or because it will disturb the local police precinct's quiet time.

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the people raising objections are correct and, thus, requires the project proponent to prove that the stated objections are invalid, regardless of the validity of the concerns. Disproving a negative is always a difficult thing to do, especially for a business that isn't even in operation yet.

Of course, it doesn't help that we allow entities such as the City Council and the Mayor's Office to weigh in on these decisions. If they don't like something that otherwise has merit for totally subjective, or even personal, reasons, that's usually the kiss of death because, well, who wants to go on record as opposing the opinion of the City Council and the Mayor's office.

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And just imagine if the regulatory boards were allowed to operate until 4am! Then you'd have all these people who like to regulate things, swarming out bars, and all regulating in one spot. It would be a drain on common sense's resources.

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How many times do the police have to be wrong before we stop accepting whatever they say as fact? They said legalizing marijuana would cause crime waves but it has turned out ok, the biggest issue was parking and traffic because of the slow rollout. Chik fil a also causes traffic when it opens a new outlet. The police are so out of touch, the idea that showing people to eat late at night causes violent crime waves seems counter intuitive. Why didn't they fight when Baker cancelled late night t service, causing throngs of drinkers to fight over Ubers, mill about, or drive home drunk?

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I mean the number of times on a Thurday at 3 AM when I've heard cop cars screaming towards the IHOP from D-14...all because some hoodlums from Allston or Brighton or god-forbid the Watertown ne'er-do-wells show up and start taxing the police resources in the area.

Fucking assholes. Let them stay open to 4 AM...if they create a problem, then THAT'S WHY YOU EXIST AS A LICENSING BOARD.

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Voting closed 26

Maybe if every hungry person in the city awake at 3 AM didn't need to go to the same one restaurant that's open, there would actually be less 3 AM conflict at that restaurant?

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Sometimes there are hoodlums from even further away, in Newton or (god forbid) Swellesley.

(Not Weston, if you want 3 a.m. pancakes there, you order the maid to wake up the butler to tell the chef to make you pancakes.)

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The vote means that people needing to fuel themselves late at night will have to drive all the way to Soldiers Field Road near the Newton line for the IHOP

Nothing I love to see people fresh out of a bar do more than get in a car and drive.

Love/Hate how this city benefits from the colleges but then refuses to even allow one neighborhood to be an actual college town.

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You know, I was far less annoying in my college days when properly fed.

Sometimes, I'd be up late because I was studying and who can wait for the dining hall to open? Student lives are not 9am to 5pm -- some classes I took even got out as late as 10pm.

And where I lived in my high school years, 24 hr diners were normal, near homes, and didn't attract people who caused trouble. Acting up at NJ diner would be like acting up at your grandma's house. You didn't do it... that much, anyway.

I get it. We live in a part of the country that can not handle anything after the witching hour, even if it's wholesome other times of the day.

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Lots of people's lives aren't 9-5. I've worked jobs that ended at 3am.

Boston likes to live in a bubble where they don't realize there are different ways of doing things that work right outside of us.

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Personally I would like to be able to eat actual food when I leave Mugar Memorial Library at 2 AM after a long study session.

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Board member Liam Curran said he was concerned the place would attract people "from all over Allston/Brighton and further."

We wouldn't want people to be patronizing our local small businesses.

Now, I think I'm a rational person, so yes, balancing the concerns of the members of the public at large against the interests of a private commercial enterprise is necessary to maintain a civil society. But "if you stay open later, people will go to your business" is both a good bet and the expected outcome of what they are asking for. If we want businesses to remain successful, we need to find the means to allow for that while countering the real or perceived issues that could arise from this change. Solutions to problems, not obstacles to them, will benefit all of us.

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Let's all write to the mayor and ask her to change this policy.

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A magnet for people swarming out of bars? Isn't a taco place one of the most wholesome possible options for people swarming out of bars?

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Haven't you heard? The cartels are deep in the avocado trade. The whole shop could become a powder keg for MS-13 and the LKs to fight over who supplies the guac.

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