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Whole Foods in Jamaica Plain Seeks to Add Indoor and Outdoor Seating

The grocer hopes to add a "common victualer" license.

A trip to wouldn't have to be just for carry out, if the grocer's plans to add indoor and outdoor seating for food service are approved.

The grocer aims to put 22 indoor seats and 16 outdoor seats at its 415 Centre St. location, said JP Neighborhood Council member Michael Reiskind at a Tuesday night meeting of the volunteer advisory board.

A is set for April 3 at 7 p.m. in the Cheverus Building, which is next to the old Blessed Sacrament Church and home to programs of the Hyde Square Task Force.

Whole Foods will be seeking a "common victualer" license, which allows service of food. The grocer is not seeking to serve beer and wine, Reiskind said.

"The indoor/outdoor seating will give customers a comfortable space to enjoy the fresh and delicious items from our prepared foods and bakery departments, as well as from the coffee bar," said Heather McCready in an email.

The license will require approval by city bureaucracy, something the grocer was careful to avoid in the months leading up to its October opening. That lack of "leverage" was cited by some JP Neighborhood Council members as a reason it failed to broker a formal "" with the chain store.

The bureaucratic process begins with the April 3 Neighborhood Council meeting. Recommendations for the Neighborhood Council are usually, but not always, followed by city boards such as the Planning Board and Board of Zoning Appeals.

[Editor's note: This post has been updated with a statement from Whole Foods.]

Derryl April 04, 2012 at 12:09 PM
Many people requested that Whole Foods add seating. They need to show up downtown when the city licensing board meets. Chris, when is that? Some points: In the 25 years I have lived here, there have NEVER been empty parking spots in Hyde Square. In fact, there used to be a lot more double parking than there is now. Parking will always be a problem. I do hope that Whole Foods employees are redirected to the paid for spaces at the MSPCA, if they are parking on city streets. Sorry to say but some people need to direct their energy to corporations who pollute, have no customer service, don't donate to anyone, are not healthy thinkers or absolutely not well meaning in any way. Whole Foods is not one of them. Not all corporations are the same and the U.S. will never be a country without them. They will be invading "your area" forever so get used to it. Targeting truly bad ones would be more helpful to the public. And, while I love eating out (though we seldom do), I routinely get our lunch at Whole Foods. I buy a salad at the salad bar or one of the very small boxed ones. That salad and a piece of toast at home costs us $2 or $2.50 each, a good price for a meal. I always bring them home to eat. If there were tables in front of the store, maybe my husband would come with me so we could eat next to the parking lot and watch the world go by instead of eating in our house.
Rick S April 04, 2012 at 12:20 PM
In addition to attending the city licensing meeting people can also send letters of support. If anyone is interested in doing so please email rstockwood@jpforall.org
gretchen van ness April 04, 2012 at 01:12 PM
Despite receiving petitions signed by over 1,000 people who support adding seating at the market, the Public Services Committee was persuaded by a small handful of aggressive opponents that there is a lot of opposition to this application, which is why several members voted against the application. If you are one of the thousand who signed the petition and you want seating at Whole Foods, now is the time to speak up. Emails can also be sent to Michael Reiskind, the committee chair, at psc.jpnc@gmail.com.
Chris Helms April 04, 2012 at 03:01 PM
Hi Derryl, No date for the licensing board has been set, since Whole Foods hasn't formally applied yet. If and when they do, I'll publicize it here on Patch.
Chris Helms April 04, 2012 at 04:46 PM
Hi everyone, I've just added a follow-up story about the deadlock at the Public Service Committee on Whole Foods' request for seating: http://patch.com/A-skNm

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