Photo: The current site at 43 Leonard St.
One of Belmont Center’s largest and most popular eateries will be leaving its Leonard Street storefront this fall for its new home on the Cambridge/Belmont line.
At its Monday, July 11 meeting, the Belmont Zoning Board of Appeals unanimously approved a special permit for a fast food license to the owners of Comella’s Restaurant to allow them to move the eatery known for its Italian cuisine and pizza to the former site of the Loading Dock at 11 Brighton St.
Attorney Stephen B Rosales, who represented the Comella family, told the board that after 10 successful years leasing the 43 Leonard St. location, the had to opportunity to purchase the property at 11 Brighton St. … which will ”cement and control their future here in town.” Rosales said the owners ”have applied to basically operate the same way and in the same manner as they have” at their current site.
”Same menu, same pizza. At $6.99, it’s a great deal,” said Rosales.
The loss of Comella’s will be a blow to Belmont Center which has seen the number of empty storefronts grow since before the Covid-19 pandemic.
Located at the former home of The Loading Dock restaurant, the new site will have 60 seats with 48 at tables and 12 at the bar. Under Belmont zoning requirements, the site will have 30 parking spaces, with 12 out in front, 10 permitted spaces across Brighton at the F. A. Williams’ property and nine off street.
The Comellas’ will soon seek a transfer of the beer and wine license it has at the Leonard Street store. A minimum build out will be required and the new site will be open in the fall. As part of the permit, the board restricted outdoor seating at the site even though the restaurant’s patio is private property, as opposed to town-owned sidewalk on Leonard Street.
Emma Thurston of Baker Street said the proposed new site – which is a block from her house – has been empty for a really long time, and since Comella’s is a household favorite, ”we’d be very happy to add them to the community over here” as it will become “a strong [business] anchor” along with Hillside Gardens in the area.