One of Boston’s best-loved sandwich shops shuttered abruptly — and now the owner is selling off his brand.
If you’d like to continue the legacy of Allston’s Roast Beast, owner DJ Lawton has a proposition: Submit an offer by Dec. 1, and he’ll sell you his secrets.
“Whoever’s offer I accept will receive everything needed to make the greatest sandwiches on earth available once again,” he wrote on Facebook. “It would be selfish of me not to give someone else the opportunity to take advantage of what I dedicated the last decade of my life to creating. . . . Names, trademarks, copyrights, website, trade fixtures, recipes, and anything else associated with the brand will be included.”
The Boston University graduate opened the small leased shop in the basement of 1080 Commonwealth Ave. in April 2011, after having run a pipe store in the same location.
Lawton told the Globe that he opted to close his restaurant — called a “rite of passage” by fans — on Oct. 30 after a dispute with the Boston Fire Department over a hood for his electric griddle, despite being told over the years that he operated safely. Firefighters were some of his best customers, Lawton said.
“I made sandwiches in the basement. There were no meats cooked there. It was all oven-roasted, sliced deli meat on buttered and toasted buns with fresh vegetables and sauce on an electric flat-top griddle,” he said.
However, he said, a recent health inspection and subsequent visit from the fire department on Oct. 30 led to trouble. He was told that he needed to install a hood, which would eliminate steam, smoke, and grease from the kitchen.
“It would cost $150,000. I can't afford that. I commute three hours. It’s more than I owe on my mortgage,” said Lawton, who lives in Brockton. An e-mail to a Boston Fire Department spokesperson was unreturned at press time.
For now, Lawton is out of the sandwich game because of the cost.
“Why come into the city every day and work six days a week? I haven’t had a real vacation in 10 years,” he said. "Now I can get a job and do whatever I want.”
Perhaps in politics: Lawton ran for Brockton City Council this year, but lost in the September primary.
Now at a crossroads, Lawton said he might reopen on Cape Cod, where he has family, or in the US Virgin Islands.
“I could go fishing in the afternoon,” he said.
And you — or someone you know — could make sandwiches, though perhaps using different equipment.