Japanese Restaurant at Plaza Receives Beer and Wine License

Wasabi is located outside of Macy's at the South Shore Plaza.

A re-submitted application to serve beer and wine at Wasabi at the South Shore Plaza was looked upon more favorably by Braintree officials Tuesday afternoon than when the Japanese restaurant withdrew its request for a license last September.

Eight months ago, Wasabi officials decided not to pursue its license application after members of the Board of License Commissioners questioned the establishment opening without full permitting and suggesting that it would store alcohol in a location separate from the licensed premises.

On Tuesday, the three board members present – Chair Joe Powers, Russell Jenkins and Marybeth McGrath – voted to approve the Wine and Malt Restaurant License after a revised presentation by attorney Carl Johnson.

Johnson explained that the restaurant will store the alcohol in a locked fridge on site and in a locked storage area under the escalator that is adjacent to the serving area. Previously, Wasabi had proposed storing its alcohol in a separate, locked room in the basement of the mall.

The 1,851-square-foot restaurant opened last August. It seats 74 people and utilizes a conveyor belt to send sushi and other food around to customers sitting in booths or at a counter. Servers bring drinks and will be the only employees delivering alcohol, Johnson said.

Alcohol will likely make up just 2 percent to 4 percent of sales, Johnson said, and is meant more as an incentive for people to come in and eat. Wasabi also has a location at the Natick Mall, and has not seen any problems with alcohol there.

"There are other issues at the South Shore Plaza," Johnson said. "One of them hasn't been overserving."

Police Chief Jenkins said he agreed with that assessment, and Plaza GM Rick Tonzi said he endorsed the proposal.


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