-By Seth Daniel
The Revere License Commission delivered a stern warning to Antonia’s on the Beach last week, but steered clear of issuing any discipline for what neighbors say is repeatedly loud music that disrupts their lives.
For years, residents of the Beach had little to complain about because Revere Beach wasn’t exactly a destination spot. In fact, it was more of a place to avoid.
That has changed dramatically over the past five years and now – over the last two summers – residents and popular businesses on the Beach have clashed over numerous quality of life issues.
Residents in the 495 Boulevard building have long-complained of loud music coming from Antonia’s, and Revere Police have responded to the restaurant regularly for the past two summers.
Police said that about half the time there is a problem, and half the time there isn’t.
While other Beach establishments have had well-chronicled battles at the Commission, last Thursday’s meeting was perhaps the first public airing for Antonia’s and its neighbors.
Commissioners decided to take no immediate action this month, but following the discussion, Commissioner Linda Guinasso said that she believed Antonia’s would have to roll back their entertainment license.
Currently, they are permitted to play music until 12:30 a.m.
“I’m concerned for the residents in this month coming,” said Guinasso. “If nothing happens, I’m thinking there’s a huge suspension here because I don’t see anything that is a serious, serious problem here that can’t be taken care of…I think 10 p.m. is right…That’s probably what we’re looking at, at this point.”
Commissioner Tom Henneberry said he has taken trips down to the restaurant to observe the conditions, and he doesn’t believe the music to be too loud. He indicated that he would rather not take action.
“I’ve been skeptical about the noise issue and I have gone down there a number of times,” he said. “I can tell you I don’t hear it when there’s music inside and Mr. (Al) Vega is not the entertainment. I was standing outside and I didn’t hear anything. At the same time, I have this package of complaints from residents saying they hear it in their building. I have no choice but to believe that is plumb.”
The balance struck was to wait one month, though it was plain to see that the status quo may not end up persevering.
Three vocal neighbors stood up to mount concerns, and Ward 5 Councillor John Powers and Councillor John Correggio backed them up.
Those residents outlined their issues and presented videotape evidence and photographs.
They indicated that the former owners, the Cintolo family, never presented a problem. However, they say that the new owners have not been as accommodating.
Resident Paul Trahan said that it is no fantasy that the noise disturbs him.
“This is what’s really loud to us,” he said. “When the saxes are blaring after 11, that’s really loud. When the trumpets are playing after 11, that’s really loud. When drum solos are being pounded out after 11, that’s really loud. And there’s a karaoke singer with just an amplifier – sounds pretty good – but it’s loud at 11 at night.”
Antonia’s representative – Attorney and Winthrop public official Jeff Turco – said his client had never been cited or disciplined for any loud music violations, despite neighbors calling police numerous times.
“There were 20 calls over the last year and I would point out that not one resulted in a violation,” said Turco. “At some point we have to deal with the facts presented to us and not the allegations.”
Turco also pointed out that the restaurant has changed the location of the music stage, and he believed that would help. He also agreed to have the ownership meet face-to-face with the neighbors in order to iron out differences.
Antonia’s also brought a cadre of supporters, including loyal customers and one noted performer – legendary jazz man Al Vega, who performs at the restaurant regularly.
Loyal customers from Everett, Lynn and Revere said they didn’t want the status quo to be disrupted – that it was the only place the older crowd could go.
“I am in my 60s and I have no place to go to unwind and hear my music,” said Janet Macnab of North Shore Road. “I want to go to hear this music. I like to be with people of my age group. I don’t go to places where the kids are yelling.”
In a strange twist on the proceedings, local newspaper publisher Jim Mitchell of Chelsea testified in support of Antonia’s – a regular advertiser in his paper.
“I don’t make a lot of money on Antonia’s advertising, maybe $75 a week, but I have given it to them for free sometimes only because he’s the type of individual you take a liking to number one and he’s sincere and caring,” Mitchell said.
“They’re just trying to make a living,” he continued. “He wants to run a business and run it right.”
Councillor Powers indicated that he wants the business to thrive, but he’s with the residents first.
“I do have a vested interest here also and that’s the people who live adjacent to the building,” said Powers. “I’m not opposed to business or a restaurant’s success…These residents aren’t taking the time out of their busy schedules to come up and complain. They wouldn’t be here if there wasn’t a problem. I’m not particularly interested in the residents from Chelsea, Lynn and Everett. I’m interested in the residents on that Boulevard.”
The Commission plans to revisit the issue at their July meeting, and Turco said he plans to schedule a neighborhood meeting very soon.
In addition to the hearing on the noise complaints, Antonia’s was also at the Commission to formally request a transfer of the business from the Cintolo family to Rodrigo Angulo of Winthrop. Angulo has run the business for the last couple of years, but the transfer had not yet been made.
In other License Commission action:
•Cafeteria Las Delicias Colombianas of Shirley Avenue had its petition for an all-alcohol restaurant license continued for a second month.
•Club Lido at Wonderland was approved to serve breakfast to commuters between the hours of 5 a.m. and 3 p.m. No alcohol will be served in the breakfast room during those hours, it was specified.
•Burbank Auto Sales had its matter taken under consideration with no disciplinary action, a matter that originated with them having too many cars on their lot earlier this month. Owners told the Commission that a disgruntled, former employee had set them up – moving extra cars onto the lot and then calling police.
They apologized and indicated that they have taken care of the problem.
•The Sons of Italy Club on Revere Street was approved for a one-day outdoor alcohol and entertainment license on June 18th. The outdoor celebration took place in their parking lot from 4-8 p.m. and was for members only.