October 12 2016

Burlington Beer Works Changes Plans by Dropping Brewery, Adding Seats

By: Rich Hosford

The Burlington Planning Board approved a special permit that would allow the incoming Burlington Beer Works to add seats on top of the number initially approved last January. 


As reported on BNEWS, last year the Board of Selectmen approved the transfer of the Outback Steakhouse liquor license to the Slesar Brothers Brewing Company, inc. founders and owners of the Beer Works breweries found in the Boston area. Then early this year the Planning Board approved plans for a brewery and restaurant with 192 indoor seats, 60 patio seats and an in-house brewery. 


During last week’s meeting, Joe Slesar, company president, and his attorney, asked to modify those plans to reflect a new design he is implementing in all his new restaurants and may apply to the existing six Beer Works locations. He said he wanted to remove the brewery and add 50 more seats to the interior of the restaurant. The beer will be brewed in his Lowell brewery and be shipped to Burlington. 


“The restaurant and brewery business is extremely competitive and the intervening months my client has had a change of concept,” Slesar’s attorney said.


Members of the Planning Board seemed receptive to the change but did have some concerns about parking. It was pointed out that Outback had been approved for more seats than what the Beer Works was asking for but that they had never used the outdoor patio. This means that during the seasons when the patio is in use by the Burlington Beer Works there will be more seats available than Outback ever had operational and that might cause parking trouble in an already crowded corner of the plaza. 


Members of the Planning Board also pointed out that while Outback only served dinner, the new restaurant will be open for lunch, a high-volume time for Panera Bread, located in close proximity to the site. 


“Parking is tight in that area,” Board Chair Barbara L’Heureux said. 


She suggested that the board not approve 50 new seats for the interior but instead allow 30 extra seats, which could be used either inside our on the patio at the restaurant’s discretion. She also suggested the landlord and Slesar ensure that all employees park either in the relatively empty area closer to CVS and the hockey supply store or behind the building. Both agreed to that arrangement. 


In the end the board voted 5-0-0 to approve the 30 seats on the condition the parking program be adopted. Member Carol Perna was not in attendance and member Jack Kelly recused himself because he is a neighbor to the property. 

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