Photo: Faud Nicolas Mukarker, the owner of the Loading Dock, oversees renovations on Brighton Street.
The inside of what will soon become the new The Loading Dock at 11 Brighton St. is filled with men and women speaking English, Spanish and Arabic. The interior is a busy place as the workers bring together the electricity and plumbing, setting up new equipment and completes the detail work.
In the middle of the activity you’ll find Faud Mukarker, the owner of the business at the corner of Flanders Road, approving and overseeing the renovation of what will transform the location that once was home of a White Hen Pantry into an international bistro, kitchen and specialty store with a full liquor license.
“It may not look it, but this will open in about three weeks,” said Mukarker, likely by mid-April.
He points to areas inside the well-lite building where the kitchen will be located, talks about the coffee area and leads visitors where the dining area will be set up, once the convenience store is closed in the next week.
It’s been nearly a year since Mukarker was rewarded the coveted full liquor license by the Board of Selectmen at a well-attended meeting at the Beech Street Center on May 1, 2014. Mukarker said he understood some residents were beginning to wonder about the progress of the transformation of the store.
But Mukarker said he took his time “because I wanted this store to be something special,” referring to the all new equipment, the use of “green” material and systems (bamboo exterior siding and a unique lighting system) and creating extra public spaces.
As Mukarker prepares for the opening of his new flagship store, his other new business is about to have a quieter kickoff. The Zaytoun Market in the strip mall at the corner of Concord Avenue and Bright Road will open its door next week.
Zaytoun – which translates as “olives” in several languages – will take a space at 62 Concord Ave. next to the East Boston Savings Bank loans branch. Mukarker had his eye on the spot for a while, having initial architectural design work done in July 2014.
According to Mukarker, the 1,198 sq.-ft. site will be a traditional convenience store much like the business he runs at Brighton Street with a coffee “bar,” produce for sale and “things you want at the last moment,” said Mukarker.
“Now people have to go to Fresh Pond or [Belmont] Center and they hate that. [Zaytoun] will be here to help get what you want,” he said.
And those needs include lottery tickets and tobacco products, said Mukarker.
Mukarker said, “right or wrong, there is a demand for these, so I want to be able to meet that demand.”
Mukarker gave up his business’ lottery license and stopped tobacco sales as two of the conditions the Board of Selectmen mandated for receiving the full-liquor license a year ago.
One reason Mukarker is opening Zaytoun is for the steady cash stream the lottery brings into a business.
“That’s important for businesses to make a profit. It keeps many stores open,” he said.