The NorthWest project gained one more step towards completion during the Burlington Board of Selectmen meeting last Monday night.
The board approved 5-0-0 a liquor license for the incoming Kings Bowl bowling alley that is being built across the street from the much-anticipated Wegman's grocery store. Kings Bowl will be located at 52 Second Ave.
The petition for the liquor license was represented at the meeting by attorney Mark Vaughn of Reimer and Braunstein, Nordblom Senior Vice President of Development Todd Fremont-Smith and Chief Operating Officer at Kings Bowl of America, LLC Frank Stryjewski. The Nordblom Company is the landlord and key developer of the project.
The liquor license is one of ten that are part of the NorthWest Park project, Vaughn explained. Fremont-Smith said there will be eight all-alcohol licenses and two beer-and-wine licenses that have been appropriated and approved for the project, which is backed by two MassWork grants provided by the state for economic development.
Freemon-Smith said the other licenses will go to restaurants, including a high-end steak place, a high-end Italian restaurant and a high-end American Grill, among other locations. There will also be retail shops and office locations in the NorthWest Park project once it is completed.
"Kings is a top-notch restaurant with a bowling theme," Vaughn said. "A lot of Burlington residents miss having bowling in town and this is meant to attract not only Burlington residents but local workers."
"We're trying to create something more experiential in nature as opposed to consumption based," Fremont-Smith added. "We're looking to create a theme of entertainment and culinary experience, a place for local workers to have meetings or to go after work."
Kings will feature a 296-seat restaurant in a 27,000 square foot building and will have 24 bowling alleys. The total occupancy is over 600 people.
During the daytime Kings will be available for birthday parties. There will also be a function room for business meetings and gatherings. Along with the restaurant there will also be TIPS-certified waiters catering to bowlers at the alleys.
Stryjewski said Kings Bowl has been in Boston since 2003. It opened a location at Legacy Place in Dedham three years ago, and the Burlington location will be similar to that establishment. Kings also opened a location in Chicago last year and is currently developing other locations in Orlando, Florida and Lynnfield.
Stryjewski said Kings is meant to appeal to people of all ages.
"We are redefining bowling - targeting a larger audience and taking into consideration the bowling and dining experience," he said. "A high-quality culinary experience is essential to who we are. We believe the Burlington market is ideal for what we do. We serve the general marketplace but also target corporate events through the week."
During the liquor-license hearing the members of the board had a couple of questions for the representatives of the development, mostly around the monitoring of alcohol consumption and public safety.
Selectman Walter Zenkin asked how late the establishment will be open. Stryjewski replied that while the exact hours have yet to be set, the expectation is that during the weekends the bowling alley will be open to 1 a.m. and have a last call for alcohol and food for 12:30 a.m.
Selectman Michael Runyan asked how the business would monitor 600-plus patrons and ensure nobody becomes overly-intoxicated.
Stryjewski said the business has a "sophisticated and elegant" way of monitoring patrons. This includes a clicker that keeps track of capacity during high-volumes times. He said the managers and servers are also TIPS certified, meaning they have training from the state on the proper procedures of serving alcohol.
"We have established a strong and long relationship with local police departments," He said. "Our locations are very well-monitored but it is done in a way that is non-threatening or accusatory or in anyway that would make our guests feel uncomfortable."
Members of the board also brought up questions of past violations other restaurants owned by the company have faced in the past, which were included in the license application. Chair of the Board Ralph Patuto pointed out that the latest violation was six years ago.
"The disclosure of problems at locations owned by same company is admiral - I appreciate that you brought them forward," he said. "I'd like to point out that the police department, fire department and board of health all have no problems with what is going in. The last violation I could find was 2006, so obviously you've had plenty of times to correct where you're going on that make improvements in monitor and so forth. I myself don't have any concerns. I'm glad you want to open up in Burlington and I'm happy that this is finally coming to fruition."
The board voted unanimously to approve the alcohol license.
This story was written with video from Burlington Cable Access Televsion. Watch the full meeting on BCATT here.
The pictures featured in the article are of the Kings' location in Legacy Place in Dedham as featured on Dedham Patch.