Dan Lyons, who took a majority ownership of Maverick Market Cafe in January 2017, appeared before the Jeffries Point Neighborhood Association (JPNA) Monday night, looking to increase the cafe’s capacity in order to be compliant with City of Boston occupancy requirement.
At the meeting Lyons explained that after he took over a majority ownership of the cafe it was brought to his attention by the City Building Inspector that the cafe’s capacity was based on old plans on file with the city. The old plans, dating back to when the 154 Maverick Street building first opened, showed the first-floor layout depicting a small cafe and a series of small shops.
However, the building, a mixed-use business incubator and residences owned by Melissa and John Tyler, underwent a slight transformation after the original cafe, Salamander’s, failed.
The Tylers acquired a neighborhood restricted liquor license from the city and removed one shop and relocated another on the building’s first floor in order to expand Maverick Market Cafe into a full service bar and restaurant. A year later the Tylers received support from the JPNA to expand the cafe’s hours from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. when they were majority owners of the cafe.
The Tylers recently sold a majority of their interest in the cafe to Lyons, but Lyons said he was unaware there was a capacity cap of 24 based on the old layout of the building.
The cafe has become a popular neighborhood spot and draws large crowds on the weekends with live music and other events. With a capacity of only 24 for the inside, and 28 for the outside Lyons has been forced to turn people away once the cafe reaches capacity.
“Our capacity is based on an old layout and changes were made to the first floor before I acquired majority ownership of the business,” said Lyons. “With the removal of one shop and relocation of another our current capacity should be 65 for the inside and 55 for the outside according city occupancy requirements. The cafe would remain as is and nothing changes. We just want the plans on record at the city updated and the capacity to reflect the current layout of the cafe. We simply want to be in compliance with the codes.”
With the current capacity capped at 24, Lyons recently had to nix a special community fundraising event booked by Piers Park Sailing Center (PPSC). PPSC Executive Director Alex DeFronzo said Lyons scurried to help the popular sailing program find another venue for their fundraiser once it was brought to Lyon’s attention that having over 24 people inside the cafe would be in violation of city codes.
At Monday’s meeting several residents and community leaders applauded Maverick Market Cafe as a model business in the community, and said they’d support Lyon’s plan to rectify his capacity issue.
However, an attorney representing Melissa Tyler said his client, as an owner of 154 Maverick LLC and landlord of Maverick Market Cafe, does not support increasing the cafe’s capacity.