FRAMINGHAM – More than a year has passed since Braza Bar & Grill left its place in Framingham after racking up violations, losing its liquor license and filing for bankruptcy.
Now that a similar new company is offering to move in its place, some city officials – and the police department – fear that it will be, as one licensing commissioner put it, a ‘Braza redux’.
Brazil’s new restaurant, 135 Grill, is getting closer to opening after having its licenses approved by the city’s Board of Licensing Commissioners on March 22 in a public hearing. But the past actions of the former owners of the location don’t help matters – especially given their alleged association with them by some city officials.
135 Grill Corp., doing business as 135 Grill, is proposing to open at 672 Waverley St., formerly Braza Bar & Grill. This business embittered officials over numerous alcohol violations, complaints of loud night noise, and non-payment of rent.
Some city officials are concerned that the new business will become a clone of the old one, mainly because the owners of 135 Grill, Reginaldo Grilo from Marlborough and Gabriella Oliveria Bonfirm from Framingham, were also former managers of a Braza Bar & Grill in Everett.
Everett’s location was owned by a different person than Framingham, and neither Grilo nor Bonfim worked in Framingham or knew the owners, but town officials are still concerned about their affiliation with the problematic former tenant.
âThis new property should not be plagued by any of the violations that have occurred in the past,â said attorney Paul Galvani, who represents the owners of the company. â(The owners) know the issues that have arisen and will do their best to run a good family business.â
To address these concerns, the police department recommended limiting shows to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and midnight Friday and Saturday because of its “very close proximity to a residential area,” Lt. Jorge said. Ruiz in a letter to the Licensing Board. Commissioners on behalf of the ministry before the March 22 meeting.
These restrictions, however, were not enforced when the board of directors unanimously approved the company’s bunker, entertainment and liquor licenses on March 22 due to Galvani’s objection. towards them, although one of its conditions was that the live entertainment end at least 30 minutes before the establishment closes. Another condition was that the business will need to be reassessed in six months to make sure it complies with the law and is not a loud neighbor.
The grill is offering to move into a 9,500 square foot location in a business district on a 1939 property, Galvani said. Grilo is about to be the manager and Bonfim the assistant manager. The owners entered into a five-year lease with the owner of the building, Galvani said. The lawyer said the owner, Philip Ottaviani, who is also a city councilor, was also transferring all of the previous tenant’s assets – like his furniture and equipment – to the new owners.
The hours of operation offered for the full-service restaurant are 11 a.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday. The menu offered for the company includes 14 dishes from the grill, such as sirloin and chili-lime marinated shrimp; seven entrees, including braised brisket and seafood linguini; three types of salads and side dishes like garlic rice and feijÃ£o tropeiro, a popular dish from the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais which translates to “farmed beans”.
Few new restaurants are looking to open in the city, and much has been done to attract another restaurant on site, including cutting the rent in half, Ottaviani said. The latest tenant has also renovated the interior of the building, and its two reception rooms – the larger one can accommodate 250 people – will remain, he said.
âI’ll be watching (the owners) as closely as you do because I hate to say it, but they’re going to be on a short line,â Ottaviani told the board on March 22. “Because, like I said, we are the owner who is funding this whole operation. The (owners of the Braza Bar & Grill in Framingham) owed so much money and trying to find a restaurant to come to. Framingham or elsewhere … good luck. ”
‘Give these guys a chance’
In early 2020, the Braza Bar & Grill in Framingham lost its liquor license and its assets were seized by the courts and handed over to the owner due to non-payment of rent. Noise spreading through the surrounding streets was a routine problem, Ottaviani said. In total, Ottaviani said he lost around $ 250,000.
But these are not the same owners as the 135 Grill, said Galvani, who opposed the police department’s recommendation to cut its hours of live entertainment, calling it a “severe time restriction.” The spot is also located next to a bar open until 1 a.m., he said.
Licensing Commissioner Stuart Pologe said he thought it was a strange coincidence that managers of a Braza Bar & Grill elsewhere would be interested in opening a new restaurant in a former Braza Bar & Grill in Framingham, but wanted Galvani to prove him wrong.
âThe intention is not to saddle up (the 135 grill owners),â Pologe said. âThis location has had issues though, so we have to be very, very careful going forward.â
Another commissioner, Laura Medrano, said the menu offered by the company seemed “weak” and believes there is not much emphasis on the food served.
“It worries me, that it will be a Braza redux … that’s just my perception,” she said.
While the three licenses of the 135 Grill were approved by the licensing commissioners on March 22, the company still has a few tasks to deal with before it opens. These include a review by the city’s health department, a fire inspection, approval by the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission, and registration with the police department.
New owners deserve a chance to prove their compliance with the law and that they can be a good neighbor, Ottaviani said.
âYou won’t hear me pleading for mercy – I never pleaded for mercy with the last tenant,â he told council. âI was with you to try to get rid of it. They weren’t paying, they didn’t care, and there was a lot of trouble, and we’re not looking for that.
Lauren Young writes about business and pop culture. Contact her at 774-804-1499 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @laurenwhy__.