Repairs and construction at Olives in City Square should be wrapped up by September, according to a letter Chef Todd English submitted to the city's Licensing Board.
More than a month ago, members of the Licensing Board questioned English during a public hearing, asking why the restaurant had been closed since Memorial Day 2010 -- and why English thought it was OK to hold on to its liquor license while the restaurant was shuttered.
Under law, the board can cancel a liquor license of an establishment stops doing business. English told the board he didn't know about the law. His liquor license, apparently, remains in place.
In the days following the hearing, English sent a letter to the board with a timeline for work. He told the board construction would likely begin during the first week of June -- and that the work would take between eight and 12 weeks to complete. Olives will probably open its doors again after Labor Day, the letter states.
"I want to express that I am 100 percent committed to reopening the original Olives in its home in Charlestown, for which the community and I have a deep fondness," he wrote.
English was scheduled to meet with the licensing board again today — 45 days after his April hearing. The meeting was canceled, board officials said, because English submitted another letter, updating the board on his progress.
"We are finalizing plans to submit to Inspectional Services for permitting the renovations and improvements," he wrote on May 10.
Patch called Olives this week. An employee answering the phone said the restaurant was likely to re-open by the end of the summer.
Olives opened in Charlestown in 1989 and had served as English’s flagship restaurant for years. (He opened Figs on Main Street about five years later.) The Olives fire last May was attributed to a grease buildup. Boston Fire Department officials said it ignited by cooking gases in the kitchen and it caused an estimated $200,000 in damage.
The fire was the third for Olives: in 2001 a grease fire in ducts shut down the restaurant and in 2007 it happened again.
In the Olives file at the Boston licensing board office, there is a copy of correspondence from Charlestown resident who lives nearby the restaurant. It asks city officials to ensure that, if Olives opens again, its chimneys are inspected and "cleaned often."