Allston Civic Association Rejects Potential Pizza Tenant

The Allston Civic Association voted against a proposal by Stone Hearth Pizza Co., a local family-style restaurant chain, to occupy a Harvard-owned property at 182 Western Ave. last night.

The 8-6 vote hinged on residents’ concerns regarding Stone Hearth’s plan to request a beer and wine license.

Residents opposed to Stone Hearth’s intention to serve beer and wine said there was no need for a family restaurant to serve alcohol.

“I don’t support this,” said Allston resident Paul “Chip” Alfred. “I don’t think Allston needs another beer and wine license.”

Alfred said that because Stone Hearth would be located in a residential neighborhood, alcohol consumption would be problematic.

The ACA’s vote will be taken into consideration when the Boston Redevelopment Authority and the City of Boston Licensing Board review Stone Hearth’s proposal to renovate the site and grant the business permits.  But some residents said they were not concerned about Stone Hearth’s plan to request a beer and wine license.

“Personally, I like to drink wine with my meals,” said Brighton resident Lorraine C. Bossi. “I support this measure.”

In leasing the former Citgo station site to Stone Hearth, the University is maintaining its goal of making Allston, specifically Western Avenue a more lively environment, according to Senior Director of Community Relations Kevin A. McCluskey ’76. Since the halt on construction on the Allston Science Complex in Dec. 2009, Harvard has focused on leasing its unoccupied properties in Allston.

“We are very pleased to welcome a great local family restaurant like Stone Hearth to Barry’s Corner and are hopeful that all the necessary approvals are achieved so Stone Hearth can open in Allston in the near future,” wrote University Executive Vice President Katherine N. Lapp in an e-mailed statement. “Stone Hearth has a well-deserved reputation for excellence, will serve the community well, and brings a vibrant new use to Western Ave.”

Stone Hearth Pizza Co., an award winning family-owned business, focuses on local, organic, and sustainable food service.

“We’re not a late night destination, we’re not a bar scene,” said Stone Hearth’s Co-Owner Jonathan Schwarz in an interview earlier this week. “We focus on very simple but high quality food.”

Schwarz said that he and his partner Christopher Robbins went into the restaurant business together five years ago after years of working in corporate America. They wanted to open a restaurant that was “a little bit hip, warm, and inviting” and that would appeal to families by offering a menu that both children and parents could enjoy, Schwarz said.

Stone Hearth has three locations in the Greater Boston area—in the towns of Belmont, Needham, and Cambridge.

Their vision for the Allston restaurant is much like the current design of the Belmont location, according to Schwarz.

The Belmont restaurant is decorated in earthy hues, deep reds, and bright yellows. Pizza is made in an open stone hearth, and Schwarz says that on weekend nights children gather by the oven, delighted to see their dinner made before their eyes.

Over the past 12 months, the University has leased its property in Allston to seven business and non-profit organizations—including Genzyme, the Silk Road Project, and the Boston Boxing Club.

—Staff writer Sofia E. Groopman can be reached at segroopm@fas.harvard.edu

—Staff writer Tara W. Merrigan can be reached at tmerrigan@college.harvard.edu.

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