Eatery owner has opposition to late night closing time

The owner of Tequila Mexican Grill is seeking to join the exclusive list of eateries that remain open past 2 a.m. in Boston.

Because the majority of establishments close at or before 2 a.m., post-closing time dining in Boston usually means navigating through Chinatown, trekking to the South Street Diner or — sigh — calling up Domino’s.

But the owner of a Mexican eatery near Downtown Crossing is trying to convince the city to let his shop be the open door for hungry night owls.

“It’s different food,” Luis Rivas, owner of Tequila Mexican Grill on Bromfield Street, said of the late night options currently available. “A lot of people would come in here. It’s better for me, for more employees.”

Rivas had a hearing before the Boston Licensing Board yesterday in an attempt to change his closing time from 7 p.m. to 4:30 a.m.

“This is quite a change in hours,” said Nicole Murati Ferrer, the board’s chair. “This is almost like a 24-hour request.”

A representative from the mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services said they were opposed to the 4:30 a.m. closing time, but were trying to work out a compromise with Rivas to allow the shop to stay open until 2 a.m.

Boston Police Sgt. Tom Lema spoke in opposition to the 4:30 a.m. closing time, citing public safety concerns.

“There are people that are highly intoxicated that gather at these late-night places,” Lema said. “It becomes a place of destination for college kids. We do have people that live near there.”

Residents said they also opposed the closing time request and said Rivas had not met with neighbors.

The board postponed its decision and urged Rivas to meet with neighbors. He said he was open to the 2 a.m. compromise.

Students want more options

Last year when Sam Miller, a 20-year-old Suffolk University student, lived on campus, he and his friends would search for places to satisfy their late-night cravings.

“Always late at night you’re looking for something to eat,” he said. “We went to 7-Eleven for food. That was the only thing ever open around here.”

That’s one of the reasons students yesterday said they would welcome the extended hours for eateries.
“I think it’s a great idea,” said Ilya Tolstov, a Suffolk student. “There’s not much variety.”


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