Universal Hub: Cambridge man faces criminal charges for allegedly fake petition against a wine bar

UpperWest Update!

Dear UpperWest friends & supporters:

To all of our fantastic friends and supporters, we want to provide you with a long awaited update on the status of UpperWest, a small locally owned restaurant that we are working on opening in the Harvard Square area of Cambridge, MA. We also want to thank you so much for the incredible outpouring of support that we received during our efforts to get food and liquor licenses at 1001 Mass. Ave.

As you know, the concept of UpperWest is a European style restaurant with a coffee bar theme during the daytime, and a wine bar theme in the evenings. The menu highlights artisanal charcuterie and cheese, in addition to small plates of hand made pastas, braised meats, and much more. We have a strong community focus, with the hope of offering the neighborhood lots of fun food and drink events, in addition to social and networking opportunities.

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Join Local Food Entrepreneurs - Food Business Association

If you are in the food industry, or aspire to be, please join the Food Business Association (meetup.com/FoodBusinessAssociation), a dynamic group of local food entrepreneurs started by the owners of UpperWest, who get together for free monthly networking events.

Since our creation of the group in May of 2013 we have grown to over 350 members. The Food Business Association has been invaluable to us and to many other local food entrepreneurs trying to get a business started or help it to grow.

YouTube Videos of Cambridge City Hearings

Although the City of Cambridge does a great job providing the public with videos of most general City Council meetings, it does not release recordings of all of the hearings of its boards and commissions.

We discovered this during the 10 days between our two hearings, when we had no access to an audio or video of our first hearing in order to prepare.

We now create audio/video recordings of the Cambridge City hearings that we attend (www.YouTube.com). Hopefully this will help applicants better prepare for future hearings, and give interested members of the public valuable access to better information.

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Cambridge Day: Cambridge Lost Wine Bar Before it Opened, and Entrepreneurs Should Be Asking Why

Sad News

We are very sorry to report that our efforts to obtain a Liquor and Food Licenses were not successful.

As all of our supporters know, we have had nothing but an outpouring of support from the Cambridge neighborhood, local businesses and the local food community.

This is why it was a shock to us to see one person at the hearings in opposition to our applications - our neighbor in the building next door. Steven Kapsalis is a resident in that building where he also owns a Liquor Store and a Bar called "The Cellar" in the basement. Unfortunately, he brought a team of people with him, including two lawyers, and what appeared to be a friend and a family member, to attempt to block our applications. He also, along with his crew,  chose to provide the Commission with false and misleading information to attempt to challenge our character and reputation.

In all fairness, we would like to point out that the owner of the restaurant upstairs from Steve's Bar called Garden at the Cellar, Chef Brandon Arms, did fully support our efforts, and even signed our Petition in Support of our applications. Chef Arms did not attend the hearings.

Although we have great respect for all of our neighboring businesses, and we certainly understand the inclination to protect yourself from competition, we do not believe that these tactics are appropriate or respectable. We also strongly believe that bringing another restaurant into our building at 1001 Mass Ave, which has been mostly empty for a long time and bringing down the neighborhood, can only make the other businesses nearby stronger by making it more of a destination. It is unfortunate that Mr. Kapsalis does not see the logic in this and found it necessary to attack us with no basis.

To make matters worse, the Cambridge License Commission appeared to not only permit Mr. Kapsalis' behavior, but actually endorsed it by agreeing with and re-stating a number of the questionable arguments presented by him and his attorneys.

We are very sad about this outcome, after having dedicated so many months to this location. We have not yet decided what our next step will be, but we will keep you updated.


Thank You for Incredible Neighborhood Support!

We want to thank the neighborhood in Cambridge and the entire food community in the local area for the overwhelming amount of support that we have received for our efforts to open UPPERWEST.

Our second hearing is coming up tomorrow on our Liquor License and other License applications, and we are hopeful that we will be able to move forward so we can open as soon as possible.

We have more than surpassed our goal of 200 signatures on our Petition, and have reached over 500 signatures. We also blew away our goal of 5 Letters of Support and received 30 amazing letters from local residents and businesses in Cambridge.

We can not thank you enough for your support and we can't wait to get open and get to know our neighborhood even better!

Hearing for Liquor License Tomorrow

Thank you so much for the incredible amount of support we have received from the neighborhood and local community for our new restaurant UPPERWEST.

Our hearing for our Food, Entertainment, and Liquor License applications is tomorrow at 6pm at the Cambridge License Commission, 831 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge MA 02139. The hearing is in the basement level in the conference room.

We welcome anyone to attend the hearing to support us, which is open to the public.

Permits Issued, Ready for Construction

After a lot of work with Architects, Lawyers, Engineers, Contractors and many others, we have our Architectural Plans approved by Cambridge Inspectional Services and have received our Building Permits to start construction. We still have a ways to go, but so far we are approved by Zoning, Electrical, Accessibility, Building, Fire and Health departments for our kitchen and restaurant build out.

We hope to finish and get open sometime in early April, and of course would love to be open in time for graduation season, but as construction always goes, we won't know for sure until we get closer. We will keep you updated.