Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Alive and Kicking Lobsters in Cambridge Facing Zoning Issue

A tiny seafood spot in Cambridge that has gained national recognition appears to be facing an uncertain future.

According to a petition that has been circulating over the past few days, Louis Mastrangelo of Alive and Kicking Lobsters "is in jeopardy of having his business of 20 years shut down due to a zoning issue," with the petition seeking 2,000 signatures in support of the Putnam Avenue eatery. The exact zoning issue is not mentioned in the petition, but talks between people involved with the Cambridge city government last night indicate that at least one city councilor has been looking into the issue and that others are aware of a possible conflict.

Alive and Kicking Lobsters, which first started out approximately 20 years ago, is a dining spot buried away in a residential part of Cambridgeport that has been featured in an episode of the Travel Channel's "Man Finds Food" and has also been noted by Zagat as having one of the best lobster rolls in Boston. (The lobster roll is actually more of a lobster sandwich and is perhaps the dining spot's signature item.)

The address for Alive and Kicking Lobsters is 269 Putnam Avenue, Cambridge, MA, 02139. Its website can be found at http://aliveandkickinglobsters.com/

[August 11 update: A message from @PatrickMBoston of Maguire Promotions & Hospitality Consulting confirms that Alive and Kicking Lobsters is indeed in the middle of a zoning dispute with a neighbor; specific information about the issue will likely be on the way soon, so keep checking back for more updates.]

[August 12 update: Based on a comment on the petition page, at least two city councilors (Leland Cheung and Marc McGovern) are now looking into the zoning issue at Alive and Kicking Lobsters. In addition, another comment goes along with what we heard--that a neighbor reportedly filed a zoning complaint after she asked Alive and Kicking for a easement through its property, which the eatery did not grant. (Her side of the story has not been heard as of yet.)]

[August 12 update: #2: More information is now out from Eater Boston--according to Sarah Smith, who is the owner of the adjacent Cambridge Bed and Muffin (a bed-and-breakfast), she made the decision earlier this summer to ask for Alive and Kicking's zoning to be enforced in writing after making what appears to be a similar inquiry last year, with nothing reportedly coming from that. Cambridge Inspectional Services commissioner Ranjit Singanayagam also says that Alive and Kicking "started this business without approval from the city," and with the formal complaint given to them from Smith, the office has now put out a cease and desist order that the owner of the dining spot is allowed to appeal.]

[September 21 update: More should be known about the future of Alive and Kicking Lobsters this week, as a Twitter post from the place states that "There is a public hearing this Thursday in Cambridge, that will basically decide our fate." (This has been confirmed by the city's website.)]

[October 6 update: A check on the place indicates that Alive and Kicking remains open, though we are still trying to find out (via the city of Cambridge) what the status of the zoning issue is; as soon as we learn more, we will post another update here.]

[November 23 update: A Chowhound poster states (via a Twitter post) that the Cambridge Board of Zoning Appeal is continuing the Alive and Kicking case until December 10, and that the board might grant--with conditions--a land use variance that would allow the place to remain open.]

Follow us on Twitter at @hiddenboston

[Related article from our sister site (Boston's Hidden Restaurants): Slideshow--Twelve Sandwiches from Restaurants in the Boston Area and Elsewhere in New England]