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Gourmet food, liquor shop plans to replace Diskovery used music, book store in Oak Square

Posted by Matt Rocheleau  May 25, 2012 11:00 AM

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A retail store that plans to sell gourmet food and fine wine, spirits and craft beer expects to open in Oak Square by early September, according to the business owner.

The shop will take over a 1,500 square-foot space at 569 Washington St. Used music, movie and book store Diskovery expects to soon shutter after a 32-year run in Allston-Brighton.

Victor Barakat, 32, said he and his younger sister, Rita Barakat, plan to co-manage their new venture.

The property’s landlord is Barakat’s uncle, David C. Khoury, who along with other relatives has owned and run Foley’s Liquors in Brookline since he opened it in 1986.

That family business is where Barakat said he and his sister learned about retailing.

David Khoury and his brother Nadim C. Khoury co-founded and run the Taybeh Brewing Company located in the West Bank village of Taybeh, Palestine, where the Khoury family hails from. The brewery, founded in the mid-1990s, was the first microbrewery in Palestine, the Globe reported shortly after its opening.

“We know a lot about the relationship between drinks and food,” Victor Barakat said in a phone interview this week. “We’re trying to sell a lot of the items that you have to leave Brighton in order to get. Why not have it locally for the community here to go to.”

The Oak Square store will feature gourmet specialty foods and beverages. Many of the items will be local, from Massachusetts or New England, said Barakat, who moved to the US 22 years ago. Food items will include spreads, jams, butters, cheeses, pastas, cooking oils, sauces, marinades and salad dressings.

He said the business’ request for a liquor license to sell all alcohol beverage types – beer, wine and liquor – received approval from the Boston Licensing Board recently, and the license’s final thumbs up came from the state’s Alcohol Beverage Control Commission this week.

The store’s staff will help customers choose which foods and drinks go well together, including wine and cheese pairings, he said.

Eventually, the shop expects to also host guided tastings of the food and drink items it sells. The store may also add teach cooking lessons at some point. And, Barakat said that if his family's brewery in Palestine gets the approval it plans to seek to sell its brews in the US, his store could stock products from the Taybeh Brewing Company.

Barakat said he hopes the store will be open shortly before Labor Day.

He said the store went before neighborhood groups and residents before applying for city permits and licenses. Some expressed concern over the shop’s plan to sell alcohol.

“Our response was: No, we don’t need more liquor stores. There’s one on every corner in Boston,” Barakat said. “But, we do need more refined package stores that help blend the process of buying food and beverages. People have a lot of different tastes.”

He said his family also owns an adjacent property behind his store. Barakat said if his planned venture does well, he may consider expanding into the extra 2,000- to 3,000-square-foot space. He said he would approach neighbors and local groups about such an idea before acting on it.

E-mail Matt Rocheleau at mjrochele@gmail.com.
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