By SCOTT JACKSON
A Boston food truck owner has received permission from the city’s licensing board to set up a beer garden outside a Squantum home during Saturday’s PorchFest.
The Board of License Commissioners on Tuesday approved a one-day beer and wine permit for Avi Shemtov, the owner of The Chubby Chickpea food truck, for the PorchFest event. The beer garden will be open from 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday at 45 Bayside Road; Shemtov plans to rope off a portion of the site for the beer garden, and beer will be served from an antique automobile by a TIPS-certified staff.
The licensing board approved the one-day license in a 3-2 vote. City Clerk Nicole Crispo, Inspectional Services Director Jay Duca and Police Chief Paul Keenan voted in favor of the license, with Fire Chief Joseph Barron and Health Commissioner Drew Scheele opposed.
Shemtov said several houses on Bayside Road will be hosting bands during PorchFest, and his goal is to cater to people there to celebrate the event and not draw in a large outside crowd.
“We’re there to service people that are already there,” he stated. “It’s not our intention with this event to draw people to the neighborhood or to increase the number of people.”
Kerry Byrne, who has worked as a marketing and hospitality consultant for the city, spoke in favor of the beer garden.
“What Avi is doing is very innovative, very new,; he’s getting a lot of intention for what he’s doing. For lack of a better term it’s kind of cool – going to these neighborhoods all over Boston and getting attention for it – and it’s kind of a way for Quincy to do something maybe other people aren’t doing,” Byrne said.
“Again, [it is] all licensed and insured and for lack of a better word all on the up and up.”
Shemtov said this will be the first public beer he has operated, but he has others lined up elsewhere.
Two residents spoke out about the proposal: John Rodophele of Grenwold Road was opposed and Jim McCarthy of Babcock Street in favor.
Rodophele called it a bad precedent in a residential neighborhood that would detract from PorchFest.
“This is a terrible idea. It sets a terrible precedent,” he said. “It’s taking away from the spirit of the event.”
McCarthy said it would be good for the community.
“I think it’s good for the community,” he said. “I think it’s something that really brings the flavor of Boston into Quincy and I think that’s what we need to keep the beautiful tradition of Quincy going – we’re always growing and coming up with new ideas.”
Keenan said Quincy police would be able to deal with any issues that arise from the beer garden, though he did not believe it would cause any problems.
“If there is any kind of an issue that comes up, we can handle it on our end. We have officers available and I don’t see it getting out of control. It’s 4 to 8 – I don’t see that as an issue,” Keenan said. “They’re down there for the music anyway – they’re not going to be drawing in thousands from 14 different communities.”
Barron said he has heard from a number of Squantum residents who are unhappy with the crowds the Third of July bonfire at Orchard Beach attracts, and believed those same residents would oppose the beer garden.
“I would find it hard to believe they would support it, so I will not be in favor,” he said.