Thursday, January 8, 2015

Ken's Deli and Red Heat Tavern Vie for Remaining Liquor License

Both Ken's Deli and Red Heat Tavern have applied for the town's last available All Alcohol license.

Ken's Deli which opened almost 2 years ago at 72 Great Road currently has a Wine and Beer license. They are looking to expand in to the space previously occupied by Wicked Good Frozen Yogurt (of which they were a co-owner). As part of this expansion, they plan to create a full service dining room in the new space and so would like to upgrade to a All Alcohol license.

As previously reported, Red Heat Tavern is looking to move in to the new building under construction next to Marshall's in Bedford Market Place. They have an existing Red Heat Tavern restaurant in Wilmington and Bedford would be their second location.

Red Heat Tavern's legal notice for the license application was published December 18th with Ken's legal notice for their application getting published on December 26th.

Massachusetts Liquor License quotas establishes 1 full alcohol license for every 1,000 in population according to the latest federal census. The latest census information updated on 2/14/14 showed 14,503 people in Bedford so that gives a total of 14 licenses.

The town does have the option to petition the state to issue more licenses. This was most recently done in Burlington which was able to get 10 additional licenses and Watertown is in the process of requesting 15 additional licenses. If the town does pursue this option, it would take some time before the new licenses actually become available.

In Massachusetts there is an ability to transfer licensess. For example restaurant A could transfer the license to restaurant B in exchange for compensation. The transfer would still have to be approved by the Selectman.

According to State Law the town must reach a decision within 30 days. The upcoming agenda show that the Board of Selectman do intend to make a decision at the January 12th Selectman's Meeting. According to a recent letter from The Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission, the “issue of competition is one that should not be considered when determining whether or not a license should be granted or transferred.”

The Selectman meetings usually provide an opportunity to provide public feedback so if you favor one restaurant over the other, I would recommend attending the meeting or sending a note to the Board of Selectman via their online contact form, letting them know your thoughts.


Anonymous said...

This could be tricky.. What happened to the liquor license that was revoked from the Plaza Hotel? I hope Ken's sticks with beer/wine and Red gets the full license. If Ken's thinks they are somehow competing with Red, forget about it Kens! Kens is a deli, not a nice sit down location.

Adam Schwartz said...

Hi Anonymous, It goes back to the town. View the current list of license holders according to the state

Anonymous said...

Sparta has a license and their space is up for rent. Maybe a transfer here would be possible?

What this highlights is how dumb it is that the State sets a Liquor License quota. Who cares if Bedford has 15 liquor licenses instead of 14?

Adam Schwartz said...

Hi Anonymous,

Looks like Red Heat Tavern got the license.

With respect to the quota system, there were a few bills in the house last year that would have eliminated it. The former Governor seemed to behind this but I don't think it came up for a vote. The challenge seems to be in some areas such as Boston where a lot more places want licenses than are allowed, so the value of a license becomes treated as an asset worth a few hundred thousand dollars. So the restaurants with an existing license don't want to have the value of a license go down.

Anonymous said...

Pure rent seeking behavior...