There are a certain number of liquor licenses granted to a town, based on population. Northborough has a quota of 15 liquor licenses and five malt and wine licenses it can grant to local establishments.
It has now reached its quota, after granting licenses to Mikaku and the new Zem Han restaurants at the Board of Selectmen meeting on Monday night.
Both owners expressed its concern over losing business due to having no alcohol.
Yuri Krasnov, one of the owners of Zem Han, was granted approval last week by the Zoning Board of Appeals to request a second approval by the Board of Selectmen. Because his restaurant sits in the businesss zone, initial approval by the ZBA is required.
"Most of the people who come in expressed that they would definitely like to have a glass of wine or a beer," said Krasnov. "Some people come and turn around and walk away when they hear we don't have alcohol. We know that without it, it would be really hard to survive. People say, 'Great food, but we wish we could have alcohol, and maybe some live music.'"
Zem Han's request for a liquor license was unanimously approved by the Board of Selectmen.
"We ate there two weekends ago and it was great," said Selectman Jeff Amberson
Mikaku, located at 290 West Main St., was also unanimously granted a liquor license. Owner Arthur Su echoed Krasnov's opinion; people want the option of ordering a drink.
"In our experience, without the liquor, it is hard to compete with other restaurants in the area," said Su. "We turn away 15 to 20 percent of our customers; we see them just leave. We expect an increase in sales if we get a liquor license, and also hope to hire more staff. We need it to compete, to grow and to survive."
According to the town's executive assistant Diane Wackell, following the approval by the selectmen, the applications for the liquor licenses are sent to the ABCC for review and approval. The process usually takes between four to six weeks; once ABCC approval is received, the restaurants can begin serving alcohol.