WOBURN - Despite some concerns about potential problems with traffic, pests and odors, the City Council at its most recent meeting voted unanimously to approve a special permit that will allow Boston Burger Company to open a catering kitchen on Sullivan Street, across the street from Woburn High.
Charles Sillari, of Boston Burger, said operations will consist of “light prep work” of food that will be shipped off-site, and equipment storage. Established in 2009, Boston Burger has two locations, in Somerville’s Davis Square, and Boylston Street in Boston.
The company makes 28 varieties of specialty burgers with colorful names like “Hot Mess,” “Artery Clogger,” and “Inferno Burger,” along with soups, salads, onion rings, and - for the gourmand who is truly carefree about cholesterol levels - deep-fried macaroni and cheese balls.
The prep kitchen on Sullivan Street will be used to make food for “events, festivals and corporate outings” off-site, Sillari said. No food will be available for sale in Woburn. Hours of operation will be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
Boston Burger’s prep kitchen will replace what Ward 2 Alderman Richard Gately referred to as a vacant machine shop. Sullivan Street is known for its steep decline as it intersects with Montvale Avenue, upon which trucks get stuck, with their rear wheels ending up off the pavement.
“We’ve had a lot of trouble with potholes and trucks getting hung up on that hill,” said Gately. “This (prep kitchen) will probably take care of it. It’s a clean operation. I have virtually no problem with this use whatsoever.”
The council added 11 conditions, nine of which were suggested by the Planning Board, including a restriction to one commercial vehicle, a cargo van that will be used to transport cooking supplies.
“You won’t see any large trucks,” said Sillari.
Sillari added he intends to “make the building better, more attractive,” with new siding, and landscaping on the grounds.
“We hope to be good neighbors,” he said.
Ward 6 Alderman Michael Raymond said he was concerned about potential odors, particularly garlic, which he said can linger for days.
While Sillari said he may use garlic “once in awhile,” he said his company “will do our best to make sure everyone in the neighborhood is happy we’re there.”
Ward 5 Alderman Darlene Mercer-Bruen said she was concerned about pest control, particularly the potential attraction of the dumpster to rodents.
Sillari said his company has a contract with a pest management company that will come to the site twice a month. The dumpster on the site must also be screened, and the company must meet health code standards.
“The Board of Health is all over it,” said City Council President Paul Denaro, a veteran of the food service industry. “They have to provide a pest management plan to get their license.”
Three residents spoke when the public hearing was opened to the audience. Dartmouth Street resident Gerard Scalley, representing his daughter who lives “right around the corner” from the Sullivan Street site, said everyone in the neighborhood will get along with Sillari’s business “as long at it’s run in a nice manner.”
Eastern Avenue resident Robert Brennan said the roads in the neighborhood are “a very tight squeeze,” and cautioned against the use of large trucks.
“If there’s anything bigger than a box truck, he’s in trouble,” said Brennan.
A woman who said her husband owns property at 2 Sullivan St. said the primary concerns are the dumpster and vehicular traffic.