Upham's Corner Online

Restaurant at 33 Hancock Street

Posted: Monday, November 8, 2010
Nancy J. Conrad

Steven P. Bingham is an enthusiastic and down-to-earth businessman, moving forward on the momentum of his successful daycare centers in Roslindale as well as a strong background in the food service industry.

He and his wife, Michele G. Bingham, and other family members have been operating two daycare centers in Roslindale.  The centers are popular and have a waiting list.  One of the responsibilities of taking care of kids is, of course, feeding them.
Restaurant at 33 Hancock Street
Earlier this year Steven spoke with a friend about a more effective way of preparing food for his daycare centers.  "Consider the old Ka' Carlos restaurant (33 Hancock St.)" his friend advised, "It's up for sale."  Not long after that the building went to auction.  

Mr. Bingham was interested and began contacting people who lived near by - abutters and other residents.  That's when he learned about the problems this restaurant had brought to the Hancock Street and Jones Hill neighborhoods.  The price was right, but could he really make it work?  It came with such a cloud hanging over it; what was the likelihood that the neighborhood could ever accept it again as an ongoing restaurant?Restaurant at 33 Hancock Street

 Steven made a business decision to go forward.  He had a vision about the type of restaurant he wanted - very different from the prior Ka' Carlos - "But that's a ways off," he said.  "My first priority is getting the building set up to prepare food for the daycare centers."

The Division of Health at Boston's Inspectional Services issues licenses for food preparation - the food-service and the catering licenses and other documents as well.  Glorianna at the Health Division confirmed that Mr. Bingham is properly licensed, and Steven, later on, showed us the licenses specifically designated for the "Restaurant at 33 Hancock St."  
At the same time he has been renovating the building - painting the outside and adding new lights and redesigning the interior to seat more diners.  The "bar" has changed.  No more beverage tray where the bartender places the drinks (it won't be needed) and a wider surface area for serving food.  Restaurant at 33 Hancock Street

The divider strip that separates the window booths from the bar area is scheduled to be replaced with two-person tables.  Thus the entire interior will be focused on tables for eating, not space for "the drinking crowd."

Steven is aware that some neighbors and members of neighborhood organizations are concerned about is upcoming business.  He says he understands their fears as he also maintains the same fears. 

In fact he has a fallback plan. 

If his customer base turns out to be problematic - and he does not think this will happen - he will return the use of the building to food preparation only for his daycare centers. 
"So what is your vision for your new restaurant?"  Stephen's face brightened, and he got a big smile on his face.  He's been thinking about is new restaurant for a long time.  He imagines a family-style restaurant with customers from the neighborhood and beyond who like his restaurant service and the food - so much so they return again and again.  

"The customer is always right," he said.  "Serving your customers with respect is always first in the restaurant business.  Of course you have to have good food and mine will be excellent."  Restaurant at 33 Hancock Street

Stephen's background in the food industry includes years of restaurant work both in Mashpee and Boston.  He managed Kentucky Fried Chicken, Fish and Chips and Cumberland Farms and has also worked at many restaurants.

"Are you sure we're going to like the food?" 

"Just listen to this," he said.  "Breakfast at 7 AM - chicken and waffles, grits and gravy, pancakes, eggs and turkey bacon.  Then we move into "brunch," a combination of breakfast and lunch available until 2 PM."  

"Dinner will include standard American fare - everybody's favorite seafood - lobster, King crab legs, lobster tails - also BBQ ribs, chicken and pasta and rice dishes.  I'd like to serve beer and wine and be able to stay open until 11 PM."
In the same way that Laura Restaurant offers live music, Mr. Bingham looks forward to providing live entertainment on the weekends.  This could include jazz, live comedy, classical and ethnic music. 

What about loud music:  "How are you going to make sure your music/sound system doesn't bother the neighbors?"  He replied:  "I am a family man.  I respect my neighbors, and they respect me.  I have been running the daycare centers for 20 years, and we have no problems.  I do not expect to have any problems here either."Restaurant at 33 Hancock Street

We talked about other uses for the facility such as private parties and special deals tied in with Strand Theater events.  Stephen is open to all of these possibilities.

"You have to begin at the beginning," he said.  "Right now I am still preparing the inside of the building.  I am still contacting the neighbors and abutters and meeting with the neighborhood associations.  We want to agree this restaurant is in all of our best interests.  After that, after we have agreed on the ground rules, that's when I can finalize my application to the licensing board." 

"Your grand opening, when will that be?"  

He replied with enthusiasm and a note of caution. "Grand opening?  I can't wait!  Actually I can wait.  I have to get all the paperwork in place first.  After that I can schedule my grand opening.  You and the whole neighborhood will be invited." 
  • Family-style restaurant
  • 7am to 11pm with some closing hours between lunch and dinner
  • Beer and wine license
  • Controlled live entertainment weekends - no loud noises bothering the neighborhood
  • Special deals with other organizations (like the Strand)
  • Also use of facility for food preparation for daycare centers
  • Optional use of facility for private parties
Note:  The restaurant may open initially for breakfast / lunch only.  Options still under consideration.

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