BURLINGTON - Like many restaurants that closed before the pandemic, upscale restaurant Del Frisco’s Grille is experiencing problems moving its liquor license.
The bar and grill chain located on Middlesex Turnpike in Burlington closed its doors permanently on Oct. 15, 2019. The chain’s Chestnut Hill restaurant also closed around that time.
The Board of Selectmen were recently informed that Del Frisco’s objective to broker the license to another restaurant entity is stuck in the mud, due to the “frozen” climate COVID-19 has inflicted on the restaurant industry.
The company did confirm they have hired a broker to market the commercial space and license together.
“I can tell you the problem right now is not the marketing tools being used but the fact that no one is initiating and opening new locations during the pandemic,” explained attorney Andrew Upton, representing Del Frisco’s Grille. “The only inquiries I get now from people interested in opening new businesses are of the delivery variety, which would not pass the ABCC (Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission) muster and do not need the same kind of space as a traditional restaurant, as they just need kitchen space.”
Upton further expounded, “We are really in a terrible time for the restaurant business.”
Del Frisco’s Grille did garner some interest in the first few months after their closure, but none were serious enough to enter into negotiations with the landlord. The landlord’s license broker revealed they received one “low-ball” offer which was rejected. The hope is that the restaurant business scene will improve once the health and safety issues are remedied sometime in the spring.
“The only way [Del Frisco’s] can get out alive is to get another restaurant tenant in there,” Upton remarked. “And the only way we can get someone in there, is if there is a liquor license attached to the property.”
The selectmen reiterated its support in providing Del Frisco’s with every opportunity to sell its liquor license in a timely manner.
“I have no problem doing whatever we can to accommodate your needs with COVID-19 around,” commented Selectman Vice Chair James Tigges. “Whatever we can do to help get a successful restaurant there, we will do.”
Selectman Nicholas Priest is “hopeful” the health and safety issues begin to normalize in the spring.
This liquor license matter is currently in front of the selectmen as a public hearing, which has been continued to the board’s meeting on March 22.