However, the restaurant's new owner, Danny Tattoli, will still have to hope that the city changes a law that prevents bars from opening within 500 feet of each other.
Tattoli had a crowd of some 60 or so Hoboken residents/supporters behind him at Thursday night's meeting of the Hoboken City Council's Quality of Life Committee.
There, Tattoli appeared pleased, after three years of disagreements and failed negations with former Clam Broth House owner Michael Acciardi, the two found common ground.
Now, Acciardi has agreed to sell Tattoli the liquor license for the restaurant. Tattoli bought the building from Acciardi three years ago.
"It's good that we came to an agreement," said Tattoli last week. "The city is going to benefit, the residents are going to benefit - you could see it on the faces of the people [at the meeting]. We're going to bring back a piece of Hoboken's past."
The Clam Broth House served soup and seafood to the city's longshoremen for 100 years, but had to be closed down five years ago due to structural problems in the building.
Not out of the woods yet
The last obstacle for Tattoli appears to be facing a city ordinance that prevents a person from establishing a liquor license within 500 feet of an existing bar.
Tattoli's attorney, Steven Spector, said the Clam Broth House should be exempt, since the liquor license has been at that location for over 100 years.
However, city Corporation Counsel Steven Kleinman said that because it was a "pocket" license, the matter might no longer be viewed as a simple license transfer. A "pocket" liquor license is one that is owned by an individual, yet not connected to a specific location. Essentially, it's a way for bars to move around town, as long as they receive approval from the local Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.
Sixth Ward Councilman Angelo Giacchi, Councilman-At-Large Peter Cammarano, and 2nd Ward Councilwoman Elizabeth Mason, appeared to take Tattoli's side.
Giacchi said, "You're talking about the same license, [at] the same location, and a transfer between two people, which according to the statute is permissible."
Kleinman said that granting an exception could set a bad precedent. However, he suggested a legislative change that would prevent the many anticipated exception requests from other neighborhood bars.
"You change the ordinance to say there shall be no exceptions to this [500 foot] restriction, except that a license that is pocketed on location can be returned to that exact same location within a certain period [of time] after pocketing it," said Kleinman. "Something like that would legislatively accomplish what Mr. Tattoli is trying to do here."
According to Kleinman, the city is currently awaiting a written agreement that will lay out what was discussed Thursday night, so that the city can fully understand the arrangement before it determines whether or not a legislative change or City Council decision is necessary.
Another possibility at hand would be a change by the city's Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.
If a legislative change is required, it may be introduced to the council as an ordinance for a first reading. It would be published in the newspaper, then go up for a final council vote.
Thursday night, neither Acciardi nor Tattoli would comment as to how much the license was sold for, though Acciardi said he made no profit on the deal.
"I feel like I did the right thing," said Acciardi, who owns Lana Lounge and operates Teak on the Hudson. "Hoboken over the years has been very good to me, and here I'm giving something back to the town."
According to Tattoli, one of the reasons for the truce was Mayor David Roberts' influence.
Roberts, who has been active in the historic preservation of Hoboken for many years, said he had instructed both Kleinman and Director of Community Development Fred Bado to reach out to Acciardi and Tattoli and remind them of the commitment they had with the city three years ago to "restore the Clam Broth House to its former glory."