Bill's Pizza will soon be expanding its bar area and offering more alcoholic beverages.
Selectmen on Tuesday night unanimously voted to grant an alteration of premises and to switch the pizza shop's beer and wine license to an all-alcohol license.
"We are going to enlarge the bar area," said Zacharias Siarkos, one of the owners. "We are going to be closing in the patio or deck in the front of the building."
Siarkos said the seats on the current patio will be added to the new bar, but they aren't looking for more of a bar-like atmosphere. He said the expanded license is to offer young couples or parents a place to get a drink and meal close to home.
The only major change might be closing at 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturdays instead of 10 p.m., he said.
"I don't want to change the atmosphere of my place," he said. "Hopkinton is a family town and that's been our business for 15 or so years."
Siarkos said he's reached out to customers about the change.
"I've had a demand for it," he said. "I feel like it is a good step for our business. That town has really grown and more restaurants coming into town. It think it would help."
A new circular bar will feature a separate "bar menu" and 16 beers on draft. The new lounge will have about 37 seats, according to the plans submitted to the selectmen's office.
Selectmen Chairman Ben Palleiko said he's "not that excited" about the new layout, but asserted the market will determine the success of the changes.
"I think it's going to turn into more of a bar feel," he said. "It is almost starting to look like two different restaurants: The pizza place to the right and the bar to the left. So I don't really like it."
Selectman Todd Cestari wanted to make sure youth sports teams and kids can still enjoy the restaurant on half-days from school.
"I like Bill's Pizza," he said. "I like what it is for the community."
Selectman John Coutinho said it's only fair to grant the license with a new restaurant likely coming just down the street and another one near Interstate 495.
"There are many family restaurants in town that have full liquor licenses," he said.
Selectman John Mosher agreed.
"I think to deny it would put them at a competitive disadvantage," he said.
Speaking to Siarkos, Selectman Brian Herr said the board takes all-alcohol licenses seriously.
"There is zero tolerance for behavior and zero tolerance for infractions," he said.
In November 2009, the old Bill's Pizza building next to Town Hall was torn down and a new building completed in March 2010. During construction, the restaurant operated out of a mobile stand in the parking lot. The 7,347-square-foot restaurant seats 98.