New Wellesley Restaurant Waiting on License

Justine’s Table, a relatively new upscale restaurant on Route 9, will have to keep waiting for a liquor license — the Board of Selectmen this week continued its hearing on the matter to next month.

The restaurant has tried and failed several times to become licensed to sell beer, wine and liquor.

The selectmen ruled against making a final decision until restaurant owner Gordon Breidenbach addresses the board’s concerns about parking and the restaurant’s relationship with the landlord.

The restaurant’s past attempts to obtain an all-alcohol license have been thwarted by inconsistencies with the restaurant’s ownership, according to board chairman Katherine Babson, as reported by the Wellesley Townsman.

Justine’s was first approved for a common victualler license in Feb. 2012. At that time, Breidenbach was listed as the sole owner on the application. However, other documents attributed to Classic Restaurant Group, the restaurant’s managing entity, listed Maryellen Behrend as a key stakeholder in the business.

Behrend’s husband Dean is the landlord for the site, but she is no longer involved with the restaurant, said Joe Hanley, Breidenbach’s lawyer.
The restaurant has been receiving a $17,000 yearly break in its rent contingent on the approval of a liquor license, representatives for Justine’s Table said.

The board also expressed concerns about an increased demand for parking. Plans for the remaining space at 978 Worcester St. call for a residential development that has not been built yet.

Town Executive Director Hans Larsen said that as that site begins to develop, traffic and parking could become a larger issue.

According to Breidenbach, the restaurant has never had an issue with parking, and has not yet needed to employ an off-site parking plan since it opened.

He came to the hearing with a petition that he said had been signed by hundreds of people in favor of a liquor license. Hanley said that the approval of the license would allow Justine’s Table to provide its customers with an important amenity.

Town Counsel Al Robinson encouraged Breidenbach to further elaborate on the parking options and alternatives ahead of the continuation of the hearing on Sept. 3. He added that it would be important for Breidenbach to make a clear statement about the financial relationship between the restaurant and its landlord at the September meeting.
“You’re either going to make it or you’re not,” Robinson said of Breidenbach’s application. “We might as well squeeze out the best solution here.”