Whether Felipe’s Taqueria will be able to keep its doors open until 4
a.m. on weekends will hang in the balance for yet another week after it
faced potential disciplinary action at a general hearing of the
Cambridge License Commission Tuesday night.
Under fire for selling burritos after the hours specified in
his license, co-owner Thomas J. Brush pushed back his application to
keep the restaurant open later until Dec. 5.
Brush accepted the advice of commission chairman Richard V.
Scali, who said the disciplinary hearing for hours violations was a
poor time to request later hours.
“[This is] not a good time to hear it since you haven’t abided
by the previous hours,” Scali said. “The very night [the license
investigator] came in, the 12th, to keep the doors open, you were open
Felipe’s’ current license allows the eatery to remain open until midnight on weekdays and 2 a.m. on weekends.
“I’m leaning to negative discipline, which is reprimand,
suspension, or even revocation,” commissioner and Cambridge Fire
Department deputy fire chief Captain Daniel J. Turner said.
Cambridge Police Department (CPD) officers testified that they
closed Felipe’s well after the official closing hours twice during the
week of Oct. 12.
On Oct. 14, chief license investigator Andrea M. Boyer found
employees selling burritos out of white bins outdoors at 2:15 a.m.
Patrons inside were seen as late as 2:25 a.m. CPD officers Juan Sanchez
and Paul Callahan said that over their time walking the Harvard Square
beat, Felipe’s had violated the terms of its license multiple times.
“In a number of occasions, I have observed the establishment
open in violation of the 12 and 2 a.m. code,” said Callahan, who said
he had given the proprietors several verbal warnings.
Brush said he had not understood the rules and would not stay open after hours in the future.
On Dec. 5, the commission will decide whether to act against
Felipe’s and may hear its application to stay open well into the early
morning. But Brush said he is not optimistic about the fate of
extending the restaurant’s hours.
“I assume that they will deny our application for the extended
hours and probably will perhaps take disciplinary action,” Brush said.
That the disciplinary hearing and application were concurrent was not lost on the councillors.
“It’d have been helpful if you’d abided by the rules in the beginning to get what you want,” Scali said.
Although the commission took no action, it discussed the
possibility of extending the restaurant’s hours at length, if
Two representatives of the Harvard Square Defense Fund
suggested that the commission consider taking strong action against
Felipe’s and voiced their disapproval of extending its hours.
“During the course of complaints, they were warned and the
staff went on serving. That is something you need to consider,” said
Jinny Nathans, a member of the group.
Undergraduate Council liaison to the City of Cambridge Jeffrey Kwong ’08 countered with a student-centered view.
“I also want to stress that oftentimes, it is the students
being belligerent and gathering out of hand, coming out of the dances
or the parties they’re at, and they have nowhere else to go and they’re
banging on the windows, almost breaking the windows. [Felipe’s] ha[s]
no choice,” Kwong said, drawing laughs from onlookers in the chamber.
“Life centers around Felipe’s at Harvard, and it’s a valuable choice,”
—Staff writer Samuel C. Scott can be reached at email@example.com.