110 Grill has executed a letter of intent to operate a restaurant at the AvalonBay Communities, Inc. development planned for the former Hilltop Steak House property.
Currently 110 Grill has 11 locations in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Doug McLean, the director of operations for 110 Grill, said that the restaurant has an upscale-casual atmosphere with an open kitchen concept and a menu that is 100 percent gluten-free.
110 Grill restaurants feature beautiful outdoor patios complete with fire pits, McLean said.
Attorney Karen Simao, who represents AvalonBay, appeared before the Board of Selectmen Dec. 13 to request the transfer of the all alcohol common victualer’s license held by Hilltop Steak House’s parent company High Country Investor, Inc. to 855 Broadway Licensee LLC.
Simao explained that 855 Broadway Licensee is owned by AvalonBay, the company that is about to commence construction of 280 apartment units and 24,000 square feet of retail space at the 13.9-acre site where Hilltop Steak House once stood.
The applicant 855 Broadway Licensee LLC submitted a floor plan showing a 5,600 square foot restaurant with 187 seats, including 24 seats at the bar.
In her presentation to the board Simao acknowledged that AvalonBay isn’t in the business of managing restaurants. She told the selectmen AvalonBay is in the process of finalizing a lease with 110 Grill.
The reason that AvalonBay was before the selectmen had to do with the logistics of the all alcohol common victualer’s license being held by a licensee that no longer exists at the space, Simao said.
Simao thanked the selectmen for being patient while waiting to hear what will happen with the development at 855 Broadway and the liquor license.
In short order board members will see AvalonBay again with the specific tenant 110 Grill, Simao said.
When the application was filed AvalonBay wasn’t sure it had a final agreement with 110 Grill as a tenant, Simao said, noting that is why the application asked for the license to be transferred to the development company.
Once the lease is finalized AvalonBay will appear before the board again because the lease is part of the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission application process, Simao said. The applicants will also need approval for outdoor seating and a private dining room that are part of the restaurant concept.
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“In the meantime we want to make sure we are transparent getting this license for this floor plan, for this restaurant space at this premises,” Simao said.
The intent is for 110 Grill to open in the first quarter of 2019, Simao said.
AvalonBay also submitted a statement of substantial public need in support of the license transfer. The company asserted there is substantial community demand and public need in Saugus for the addition of an all alcoholic common victualer’s license at the restaurant.
“The grant of the requested license for this new restaurant will advance the town’s goals and objectives for economic and community development,” the statement reads. “To address the evolving customer demand and better serve the community, the applicant has entered into a letter of intent for 110 Grill to operate a full service, family friendly restaurant offering seasonal specials that include the freshest ingredients.”
Looking back, Simao pointed out that a restaurant has operated at the site for more than 50 years. She added that the town continues to grow and the 280 residential units being built at AvalonBay show a need for the license to operate at the location.
As for the full AvalonBay development, Simao said the company expects to begin foundation work in the near future.
“You’ll actively see fencing going up in the next few days and work commencing at this site,” Simao said.
Two restaurants are planned for the retail space at AvalonBay, according to Crosspoint Associates Director of Acquisitions Jonathan Hueber.
Negotiations are underway with a fast casual restaurant that is a coffee use, Hueber said. Because an agreement has yet to be signed he can’t reveal the establishment’s name.
The selectmen voted 5-0 to grant the license transfer to 855 Broadway Licensee with hours of 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Tuesday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday through Thursday, and 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Board of Selectmen Chairman Debra Panetta said that the AvalonBay property is a hot topic around town. The parcel has been vacant for quite a while and the board wants to see it developed, she stressed.
Selectman Jennifer D’Eon liked the concept for the restaurant at the AvalonBay development.
“This is an exciting time,” D’Eon said. “I think it’s beautiful and an excellent use of the space.”