Sweet Rice Gets Neigborhood Nod on Liquor License, Sidewalk Dining

By Seth Daniel

The new Sweet Rice Restaurant got positive reviews at a small abutters meeting on Monday night, clearing the path to an appointment with the Boston License Board in pursuit of an All Alcohol Restaurant license and permission for sidewalk dining.

Sweet Rice, on Main Street, opened earlier this year after the sudden demise of long-time staple Chow Thai. The purchase of that business by Sweet Rice included the transfer of a beer and wine license.

The restaurant is now pursuing a full alcohol license from the City.

That could be a tricky venture as there are only a limited number available for Charlestown, which doesn’t qualify for the special neighborhood liquor license program. Of the 25 new licenses to be released on Sept. 1 as the final leg of that program, only five licenses would be for citywide consumption – and Charlestown businesses would have to compete with those in the downtown, Back Bay and Fenway areas for those five licenses.

The other option for Sweet Rice would be to go onto the open market to purchase an existing license, which can run as high as $200,000.

It was not readily apparent which path the restaurant would choose before the License Board.

Some neighbors had concerns about the sidewalk dining portion, but no one was against it. Sidewalk dining in Charlestown is relatively uncommon.

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