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Let's Meet for Lunch at Whole Foods — Grocer Gains City Approval to Add Seating

Whole Foods won the city's approval to add 38 seats to its Hyde Square location. Patrons will be able to eat prepared foods bought at the store.

The city's Licensing Board has granted a license to add seating to their Hyde Square grocery store.

That means that patrons will, once the seats are put in place, be able to eat prepared foods at tables inside and outside the store.

Some in the community had opposed the move, testifying to the License Board that it might hurt locally-owned restaurants by causing competition.

But Whole Foods and its supporters said the grocer was responding to customer demand — and that consuming take-out items from a grocery store wouldn't compete with nearby eateries.

"We don't think we'll be competing," Whole Foods' attorney, Mike Scott, told the License Board on Wednesday. He noted that the store has put up a board displaying where local restaurants are and highlighting their menus.

Whole Foods' will add . Patch has reached out to Whole Foods to find out when the seating will be put in place.

Ben Mauer June 14, 2012 at 09:59 PM
Sad day for local business in Hyde Square, and a sad day for democracy. The city government is a disgrace and a cesspool of favoritism, corruption, and political theater. The only thing this ruling shows is that no level of graft or corruption is below the city government, and that the only political commodity at City Hall Plaza is money. Petition signatures opposing the seating from nearly every restaurant in Hyde Square were submitted before the hearing. The neighborhood liaison Julianne Doherty as well as Neighborhood Services should be ashamed that they didn't ask for more formal input from the businesses in Hyde Square before the hearing, and should have listened at the Neighborhood Council hearing on the matter when several local restaurants opposed the seating. The rubber stamp committee at Hyde/Jackson Main Streets should have asked businesses in Hyde Square what they actually wanted before rolling out the bubble-wubbly-talk at the hearing.
MarkBoston June 14, 2012 at 10:20 PM
Mr. Mauer , Give it a rest ... you're a bit extreme and it just makes you look like it's "your way or the highway " .... I live a block outside Hyde Sq. I dont actually shop at WF ( too expensive for my tatse ) but I see zero " graft, corruption or favoritism here. The only "political theater " going on here is your posting .. The so called Neighborhood council was completely created in it's opposition to WF.. No one expects anything fair to come from that body concerning the store. The NC seems to speak ONLY for it's own agenda ..
Ben Mauer June 14, 2012 at 10:22 PM
And as for this weird cheerleading section Whole Foods has going on, I'll never really understand your ecstatic "weee!"s and "yaaaay!"s as our neighborhood's soul gets gutted. I hope someday, when everything in this neighborhood is so neat and tidy, and everybody looks the same as you, and there's no trash or dirt anywhere, every storefront is a nice tidy upscale chain store, you'll feel the pang of emptiness. I hope someday you'll wake up, look around, and miss the artists and the misfits and the messiness of true community, and maybe feel just a little bit regretful that you excitedly helped push the steamroller just a little bit faster. Your life is sad if you are so jubilant about Whole Foods.
Chris June 14, 2012 at 10:51 PM
Graft? Ben, your other points above were eviscerated by replies to the comment you made on the prior article. But graft? Really? Where and when exactly? Or is that just the rank speculation of someone who's "coalition against gentrification" fights Whole Foods, "likes" City Feed" and ignores Cafe Aromi? What is your coalition other than a single-minded, flagrantly misinformed crusade against popular opinion about Whole Foods?
Scott June 14, 2012 at 11:03 PM
Whatever you say Scribblechest
Bob from JP June 15, 2012 at 01:07 AM
A sad day for democracy? Good god man, get a grip. You are not important. No one cares about the diarrhea you spew all over the internet and no one cares about your looney tunes opinions. Your socialist dream will never materialize here because a thinking person is not as easily brainwashed as you. You are so woefully out of touch with the vast majority of JP residents that it makes your holier than thou diatribes all the more irrelevant and desperate. Don't you get it yet? Just because your hipster friends think your ideas are awesome doesn't make them awesome.
Jack June 15, 2012 at 01:40 AM
A sad day for democracy is what's going on in Egypt. Here in JP, it's just a grocery store. With tables.
Ben Mauer June 15, 2012 at 01:41 AM
Hey Scott, don't comment on my physical attributes. If you want to make comments like that, stop hiding behind your first name and Mr-T-in-camo persona.
Chris Helms (Editor) June 15, 2012 at 02:09 AM
Scott, thanks for participating here but please leave off the name-calling.
Dave Demerjian June 15, 2012 at 03:34 AM
Ben: while we have been on opposite ends of the WF debate from the start, I have begrudgingly come to respect your passion and thoughtful articulated point of view. But calling this a sad day for democracy shows a lack of perspective that borders on insensitivity. Here are some topics where "sad day for democracy" would work well: Syria, Egypt, Mitt Romney's fundraising strategy. There are plenty of others, but 32 seats at Whole Foods does not qualify. That's all I'm saying.
Maura June 15, 2012 at 11:30 AM
Ben- you have absolutely no sense of history. I guess the neighborhood is gentrified just enough for you to be here and now it should stop. It just doesn't work that way.
Pat Roberts June 15, 2012 at 12:22 PM
The good guys win again in JP. Steadily and I hope inexorably, the left's control over what happens in Hyde Square is slipping away. Maybe they will finally move on to greener pastures, just like the criminals do when we organize crime watches on their turf. I'll be sure to use the WF outside tables when they are installed, to celebrate.
Steven June 15, 2012 at 01:13 PM
Thats it, I am moving back to Cuba. They know how to run things down there.
gretchen van ness June 15, 2012 at 01:14 PM
Funny thing about democracy. It doesn't mean that you always get your way. What it does mean is that you get a chance (usually more than one) to persuade people of your point of view. And that's exactly what has happened in the 18 mos. since JP learned that Whole Foods was coming to Hyde Square. There were public meetings where opponents spoke at length. Whose Foods/Whose Community took to the internet with a terrrific and powerful website and Facebook page. There was leafleting, rallies in the public parks and on the public streets, picketing on the public sidewalks, and extensive discussion on Facebook, the JP Patch, boston.com, the JP Gazette and many other print and on-line sites. The JPNC set up a task force specifically to address concerns. People lobbied their elected officials and their neighbors. People boycotted the store. This past Wednesday, anyone could have participated in the public hearing at the Licensing Board, and several people did, while others sent letters and emails. All of these forums allowed anyone who wished to participate opportunities to persuade others of the rightness of their views, to organize collective action, to do all the things that define our messy, chaotic, unpredictable democratic process. If those efforts failed, it isn't because of graft or corruption or the Whole Foods zombie apocalypse. It's because people weren't persuaded. That's what happens in a democracy.
ann merritt June 15, 2012 at 01:16 PM
Wow Ben, your hyperbolic rants would be amusing if not so extremely paranoid.
Derryl June 15, 2012 at 01:26 PM
Ben, many people agree with you that the more diverse a community, the more fun and interesting. People also like J.P. being surrounded on three of it's sides with green space and it's proximity to downtown. Those are some reasons why property values have increased over the decades. At one time, there was a lot of German spoken in J.P. (go on the many fascinating J.P. Historical Society Saturday morning tours)! Since we are all so fortunate to be living in a society that welcomes diversity, my guess is that our little Hyde Square will continue to be a melting pot for as long as we are living here.
Rich P June 15, 2012 at 02:33 PM
There was a time when I actually found Ben's comments worthy of valid conversation. Long ago, though, I realized that his comments were merely amusing and entertaining for their comedic value! I so enjoy reading his comments for how the completely out of this galaxy looney crowd thinks. I am so accustomed to reading well reasoned articles by a variety of intellectuals who employ evidence based analysis, that when I read a post that is completely, totally and utterly divorced from all forms of reason - I get a good chuckle. Then, of course, it is so exciting to read all of the follow ups by a myriad of voices. Typically at the end, I expect to see Gretchen's voice of sanity wrapping everything up in an impressively articulate response. Ben , please keep on posting, you are more entertaining than a Hollywood blockbuster.
Alan Wright June 15, 2012 at 02:40 PM
I miss the old days - when I could go into Flanagans', tip toe around the trashy floors and have my pick of bad food. I miss Triple D's when it was filled with smoke, where I could get a Bud. I miss the rail tracks upon which I could trip or catch my bike wheels in. I miss Breuggers at the fire house and when JP Licks was a hole in the wall. I miss it when JP didn't change. LOL!
Rich P June 15, 2012 at 02:52 PM
On a different note, I would add that it is such paranoid delusional ideologies that evolved over the past 50 years, that gave rise to the tea party, THAT is what is so sad about the effect that the loony left has done to our country. Wisconsin is a prime example. Fair minded people who, for generations, supported 'left ; leaning thought got fed up when the left became consumed with their power and tipped the country way too far off track . Sure there are just as many malevolent forces at work on the far right, but I would argue they have become emboldened by the extremism of the post war left, that is sending our country down a path of mediocrity. How could anyone favor mediocrity pay? Look no further than the Boston teacher's union. Totally opposed to merit pay, children's futures are a distant 2nd place to their own paychecks and short as possible work days, while the private sector worker puts in 100's of 'extra' hours a year - un compensated. Here in JP - incredibly progressive people who self describe as 'left' are appalled at the power of some unions and advocate for charter schools so that their children are not failed experiments in someone's utopian lab. Rejecting systemic incentives for excellence and institutionalizing equality in mediocrity, a calling card for the left of left is exactly why the tea party has such appeal and why Scott Brown is our #2 ... and likely to get re-elected.
Ken Pope June 20, 2012 at 12:13 AM
Years ago I read an article in the Gazette about a restaurant which wanted to open in J.P, and was turned down by the JPNC. I wrote a letter to the Gazette complaining about the fact that this restaurant was turned down while members of the JPNC (at that time) were owners of restaurants in JP at that time who recuse themselves from voting on that decision because of an obvious conflict of interest. Ultimately it came down to me speaking to the Boston board in favor of allowing it to open (I didn't know the owners at all) who then decided to allow that restaurant to open. It lasted in JP for a LONG time (despite the pleas from the JPNC that another restaurant wasn't needed). Ben - THAT is democracy. We allowed the people of JP to decide which restaurants would survive and it was based upon quality - NOT the desires of an elected few.
Ken Pope June 20, 2012 at 12:35 AM
Grrr.. I meant to say: 'who 'didn't recuse themselves'...
Rich P June 20, 2012 at 01:20 PM
Ken, Great point! I am absolutely appalled that the city condones such naked self dealing. Yes CONDONES. If the city was serious about having valid, credible NC's they would absolutely have crystal clear strict rules that ALL NC's must follow, or immediately lose their city charter.
Joan Wood June 22, 2012 at 02:25 PM
I am wondering where all the right wingers now in JP came from. I remember when JP was a progressive, enlightened community that actually believed in diversity on a number of levels. Now when I read these comments it sounds like the knuckle dragging, Howie Carr listening Neanderthals have taken over this once lovely, soulful community. How terrible.
Ken Pope June 22, 2012 at 03:35 PM
Joan - I consider myself as left wing now as I was when I fought for the rights of that restauranteur 20 years ago. His rights were being trampled on by a JPNC who didn't disclose conflicts of interest. The current JPNC treats some businesses with kid gloves while treating others with hostility. This is not a Right/Left issue - its one of consistency and respect. It's a shame that you've lost sight of what the true issues are here, and are now attacking with name calling.
gretchen van ness June 22, 2012 at 04:03 PM
I'm not sure how supporting a responsible business with a proven track record of community engagement and support coming into a vacant building into my neighborhood, where we were losing more businesses than we were gaining in the final years of Hi Lo's existence, makes me a knuckle-dragger or Howie Carr Neanderthal. I'm glad that a business opened in Hyde Square that provided jobs for so many who lost theirs when Hi Lo closed -- no other JP business stepped up to the plate like Whole Foods did. I'm relieved that we have another grocery store option in JP, rather than an auto parts store or liquor emporium. And from what I can tell from the little I know about Howie Carr, he would definitely classify me as one of the liberal moonbats, if not worse. If there has been damage to JP's lovely, soulfull community, it has come from the words people have chosen to use in this debate and the choices they have made about how to view their neighbors who they may disagree with. Why have you assumed the worst about the commenters here?
Bob from JP June 22, 2012 at 11:04 PM
It always amazes me how quickly "progressives" start bleating about how the neighborhood has changed, how the good old days are gone, etc, etc. What do you think all of the people who you were displacing when you moved here were saying?
Rich P July 02, 2012 at 02:46 PM
Joan, as a "knuckle dragger' I must agree with those who find your observations and comments unfair. Rather than repeat them, I'll just say , once again, that Gretchen, ( who I believe is an attorney and therefore formally trained in fair minded, reasonable thinking) has summed things up quite well. We still do live in a democracy where good people and good businesses should all be given an equal opportunity to join society free from emotion inspired bias. Like Gretchen, there are more times when I am referred to as a left of left .... such as when I opposed the Dominoes coming into Canary Sq, defending gay marriage, saving trees, advocating for alternative energy, saving historical buildings , promoting our JP open studios, etc. It seems that the 2 fringes in our 'new' democracy ( far right tea partiers and far left occupiers) want to run our country by emotion and not scientific facts. Personally, when I see science refuting what I 'felt' was true, I am quickly persuaded to change my opinion. The far right let's say in 'Southie' and the far left , let's say in JP, do not like when science, independent polls and fair minded centrists like our governor Deval Patrick and our President Barack Obama along with huge majorities go against the emotional views they have formulated based on a few anecdotal stories they heard. I am most puzzled when the left fringe accepts as fact some of these anecdotes without critically analyzing the layers under such stories.
Lynn July 18, 2012 at 10:23 PM
Rich, I'm rather surprised at your negative view of the Tea Party. Based on your past posts I would have tagged you as a proud member. Many vocal parties in this story employed black & white thinking, and we saw a profound lack of engaged unbiased community leaders. The democracy lost here was in part due to the vitriol on the side supporting big business/Whole Foods in Hyde Square, and it had an impact on on public discourse. I haven't posted yet on this matter to spare myself off-topic insults with no relation to the actual matter at hand (writing this I prepare to be called a loony, paranoid, or a socialist). This patch reads like a sophomoric high schooler's blog - or like reading a conservative talk radio fan giddily using the forum to show the world their own self-proclaimed expertise (in this case, expertise in consumerism and provision of free advertising to businesses who don't need freebies). I beg thee, remove thyself to Yelp. I can't help but point out the inaccurate use of the word paranoid- a person isn't considered paranoid if a belief system is based in reality. Follow the course of events and money here to see the community is bought. Those in more vocal opposition to the mass opinion expressed here likewise aren't paranoid, but perhaps fearful since clearly some folks out there (Rich) manage disagreement with robust insult, threat, and bully tactics. Finally Rich, please move on. Must you keep submitting new Whole Foods reviews in various online spots?
Lynn July 18, 2012 at 10:42 PM
Acknowledging that my post did return some feedback to Rich P (above), I would offer that folks may assume the worst about commenters here because many of the comments are hateful and rude.
Chris July 19, 2012 at 05:39 AM
Lynn, Each of the commenters here that wrote opposing Whole Foods’ request used a phrase to describe people they disagree with. Here’s one description from each of the three: “The rubber stamp committee at Hyde/Jackson Main Streets” “knuckle dragging, Howie Carr listening Neanderthals” “folks may assume the worst about commenters here” And by the way paranoid is an accurate term if the fears of conspiracy have no rational basis. I think it applies to what Ben wrote.

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