BURLINGTON - Common Craft earned a decisive approval from the Planning Board last Thursday night, allowing them to open its first Bay State location in the Burlington Mall.
The new, modern restaurant concept, Common Craft, is hoping to change the dining experience in Burlington.
Common Craft is a unique dining proposal, which includes both a restaurant establishment and a retail wine/malt store operation to be situated between Legal Sea Foods and Fogo de Chao in the Burlington Mall. The full-service restaurant will be comprised of multiple distinctive rooms offering various cuisines complimented by various wines, craft beers and other alcoholic beverages.
These dining options will be further enhanced with rotating seasonal foods and special beverages intended to maintain customer interests. Segregated from the restaurant is the retail wine/malt sales facility, which will be operated in a separate building accessed outside of the restaurant and will offer wine and craft beer products.
The concept encourages up-and-coming micro-brew beer companies to be the tenants in their open-space restaurant layout.
Representatives from Common Craft said, “Our concept is for smaller micro-breweries to become something bigger,” adding, “It is a one-of-a-kind concept.”
With Burlington housing mostly high-end restaurant entities, smaller startup businesses - as mentioned above - really have no chance of opening solo in town. But, if these businesses link up with one or two other similar entities in a setting like Common Craft is proposing, they will be able to handle the hefty financial obligations while hopefully growing into a regional and national outfit, like Lord Hobo Brewing Co. or Trillium.
Looking at the renderings of Common Craft’s proposal for the Burlington Mall, it has the feel of Eataly Boston and Quincy Market, with a selectively focused open-air concept theme. The overall design is modern, but clearly resembles a rustic New England decor with a mill-like brick facade.
“We want to shine light on our producers who bring things to life behind the scenes,” remarked a Common Craft representative. “I want consumers to experience the producers and their brand, style and DNA.”
The renderings revealed a mostly glass exterior facade with a canopy outlining the main entranceway and a patio in front. Some of the micro-brew businesses mentioned in consideration for the three spots in Common Craft are Idle Hands Craft Ales (Malden, MA), Hermit Thrush (Brattleboro, VT), and Deacon Giles (Salem, MA).
There would be one menu for all the restaurants, which would be situated separately from each other in the Burlington Mall space. The space’s Main Hall would be where people can come together and share multiple crafted experiences at once.
“As such, the center of Common Craft needs to be a truly welcoming comfortable, unique, and versatile communal space that people want to come back to again and again,” detailed a Common Craft representative. “The Main Hall is exactly that. It is big, open and inviting to everyone. It is a place where hardcore craft-appreciators can belly-up to discuss the minutia of every beverage. It is a space where friends and families can pull tables together to catch up.”
The source for further information regarding Common Craft can be directed towards Larry Leibowitz, managing partner of Common Craft.
This proposal would have likely been approved during its first appearance before the planners in June, but the new parameters enacted by Planning Staff with virtual meetings mandates that public hearings cannot be opened and approved at the same meeting because town officials want to make sure ample time is given for the public to digest and provide feedback, if they deem it necessary. Last night’s approval took place as the official second meeting for this proposal, and the planners were just as excited about Common Craft as they were last month, calling it “cool” and a place they “cannot wait” to try as patrons.
“I welcome the concept,” declared Planning Board member Ernest Covino. “It seems like a unique idea and should work out well.”
This type of business does not exist in Massachusetts, so it will be the first of its kind, and town officials are ecstatic they selected Burlington.
“There is not really anything out there like this,” commented Planning Director Kristin Kassner. “This brings together local concepts, similar to a mom-and-pop feel. I think it is a great concept to have the opportunity to feel comfortable in the different spaces of a building. We have a lot of national chains at the Mall, which is nice, but it is also nice to see some local folks in the market, as well.”
The board approved the special permit and site plan by a 6-0 vote. Member Joseph Impemba was absent from the meeting.