El Jefe’s Taqueria, a late-night Mexican restaurant, will not be allowed to operate after 1 a.m. on its new Boston University campus after the Boston Licensing Board denied its request.
The restaurant, located at 957 Commonwealth Avenue, asked to stay open until 4 a.m. during a hearing on January 26. Instead, it was granted a permit to stay open until 1 a.m. after officials from BU and the Boston Police Department raised concerns about pressure being placed on police force personnel and potential ‘incidents’ occurring late at night.
El Jefe’s Taqueria owner John Schall has applied for a license to stay open until then to serve community members who work night shifts, such as police, firefighters and paramedics.
“There’s a demand for this among students and residents in these neighborhoods and we’re here to meet that need,” Schall said.
During the hearing, Ken Ryan, BU’s Director of City Relations, was joined by BUPD Chief Kelly Nee to voice the University’s concerns about the 4 a.m. closing time, asking council to change opening hours to close at 1am.
“We believe a 4 a.m. closure is unusual for the area and could result in otherwise avoidable circumstances and incidents at that time on Commonwealth Avenue,” Ryan said.
BU spokesman Colin Riley declined to comment further on the University’s objection to the closing time.
El Jefe’s Taqueria has several other locations in the Boston area – one near Harvard Square, another near Boston Common, and a third near the Northeastern University campus. The first has closed at 4 a.m. for the past six years, the Boston Common site has closed at midnight, and the Northeast site at 2 a.m.
Mark Harrington, BPD district D-14 commander in Brighton, told the hearing that an early morning closing time could “create problems” – as in the past – and felt that the hours of The restaurant’s opening should align with those of others in the area.
“My concern is that I would have to hire cars there, every night, after 1 a.m.,” Harrington said.
Raising Cane’s and Blaze Pizza’s West Campus locations both close at 10 p.m.
Pleading his case, Schall said there have been “no incidents” at the Harvard Square location in the six years of operation, adding that the new location on BU’s campus will not be used. of alcohol.
“30% of our business is done between midnight and 4 a.m.,” Schall said. “There is absolutely a need for this.”
The Boston Licensing Board offered Schall the opportunity to return in a year to appeal for later hours.
Eloise Marseille, a first-year student at the College of General Studies, said it can be difficult to find food on campus after the dining halls are closed, especially when she goes to bed late on weekends or she studies.
“I think 1 a.m. is a good time to close, but I can understand people wanting it to be open around 4 a.m.,” Marseille said. “I live in Fenway and the dining room at Fenway closes very early Friday, Saturday and Sunday.”
Caroline Dehaven, a junior at the School of Hospitality Administration, said Boston is not a “nightlife” city and doesn’t have many options for eating out at night.
“I really feel for people like medical interns and medical workers because it leaves them with limited options at night,” Dehaven said.
Peyton Nguyen, a freshman at the Sargent School of Health and Rehabilitation, said he thought it would be good to have more food options for students who study late at night.
“Everyone has a completely different schedule in college, and there are a lot of people who have different obligations. They might have sleepless nights,” Nguyen said. “I think it would ultimately be better for the campus community if we had more options.”
Schall expects the new Taqueria in El Jefe to open during this weekend, he said.
“We think it’s going to be a big store,” Schall said. “We are so excited to be part of the Boston University neighborhood.”