Caffè Nero is set to open its JP location on Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015. Credit: Chris Helms
Jamaica Plain's newest coffee shop, Caffè Nero, is scheduled to open at 8 a.m. Thursday. While many residents have welcomed the family-owned coffee house, others decry an international chain planting its flag in competition with mom-and-pop coffee purveyors. Caffè Nero has said it aims to provide a European-style coffee house where guests are encouraged to linger and talk.
Despite opposition from some residents who wanted to keep the international chain out of JP — but with strong support from others — the city's Licensing Board approved Caffè Nero's permit to serve food. This means the European-style coffee house has cleared all the red tape it needs before opening across from Blanchards. The Licensing Board granted the "common victualers" license on Thursday after delaying its decision to hear from a committee of the JP Neighborhood Council. "We're very excited about becoming a part of the community," said Jay Gentile, director of U.S. operations for the coffee house, in a Monday phone conversation. The news will delight some residents and disappoint others.
Caffè Nero, the international coffee house chain on the verge of gaining approval to open in JP, committed verbally to a list of neighborhood demands but won't sign the document. Jay Gentile, who runs U.S. operations for the family-owned company, told attendees of a Tuesday community meeting that his firm was "fully committed" to being a good neighbor and should be judged a year from now on how they actually perform. "When lawyers get involved, it gets messy," Gentile told the Public Service Committee of the JP Neighborhood Council. "It's an uncomfortable feeling." The 733 Centre St.
Happy Election Day! Here's your Morning Memo for all things JP for Tuesday, Nov. 4. Neighborhood Group to Vote on Caffè Nero: Tuesday at 7 p.m. could be the neighborhood's last chance to weigh in on Caffè Nero's plan to open their second U.S. coffee house at 733 Centre St. That's the meeting of the Public Service Committee of the JP Neighborhood Council.
The city's Licensing Board will wait to hear from a JP neighborhood group before deciding whether to give a European coffee house approval to open. As expected, the Licensing Board heeded a request by the JP Neighborhood Council's Michael Reiskind to delay any decision until at least Tuesday's meeting of a committee that's crafting a "memo of understanding" between the neighborhood and Caffè Nero. That meeting will be 7 p.m. Tuesday at Curtis Hall, 20 South St. The coffee house chain aims to open their second North American location at 733 Centre St. The international company has drawn push-back from some neighbors who prefer locally-owned businesses and strong support from others.
Hi neighbors. Here's your Morning Memo for all things JP for Wednesday, Oct. 29. UPDATE: As expected, the Licensing Board put off action until after they hear from the JP Neighborhood Council. UPDATE: The Licensing Board could vote Thursday up or down on Caffè Nero's license to serve food, though it is more likely action will be delayed until after a Tuesday, Nov.
A neighborhood advisory group won't give its blessing for Caffè Nero to open in JP until the international coffee house chain crafts a "memorandum of understanding" with it. The Public Service Committee of the JP Neighborhood Council voted 7-5 on Tuesday to delay up to two weeks before taking an up-or-down vote on Caffè Nero's bid to open at 733 Centre St. During that time, members of the committee and interested residents can help craft the elements that might go into the written deal. "Memorandums of Understanding" are common when new businesses open, but they are usually between the business and abutters and focus on issues like noise or delivery schedules. Several residents who attended Tuesday's meeting at Curtis Hall Community Center argued for a wider-reaching "Community Benefits Agreement."
A very large coffee chain in Europe, Caffe Nero, who does not regularly pay their taxes is close to coming to 733 Centre Street, right next to Blanchards. They already have one cafe in downtown Boston and plan on opening up to 10 more in the next five years. Today there is the ZBA meeting at 10:30 on the 8th floor at City Hall AND THE JPNC PUBLIC SERVICE COMT MEETING AT 7:00 TONIGHT AT CURTIS HALL where they both will address Caffe Nero. Come to one or both of the meetings if you can! And read the two quick links below for starters.
From Michael Reiskind, chairperson of the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council's Public Service Committee:
"The Public Service Committee will hold its October 2014 monthly meeting on Tuesday, October 7 at 7:00pm at Curtis Hall, 20 South Street. On the agenda will be a petition of Caffe Nero Americas, Inc., doing business as "Caffè Nero", at 733 Centre Street for a 7-Day Common Victualler License from 7:00am to 9:00pm, with Jason Souza as manager. (Please note that the Zoning Committee will also be considering a request for take-out for this business at their October 1 meeting.)"
The Oct. 1 Zoning Committee meeting referenced above at 7:00 p.m. at Farnsworth House, 90 South St.