LENOX -- The owners of Mazzeo's Ristorante have purchased the site of the former Halpin's Grub and Grog at 490 Pittsfield Road in Lenox and plan to open a sports bar there this summer.

Anthony Mazzeo and his brother, Michael, who operate their restaurant at 1015 South St. in Pittsfield, said they closed Thursday on the Lenox property. They plan to open at the new site once an all-alcohol liquor license is obtained from the town, which is estimated to take two or three months.

In November, the property was scheduled for a foreclosure auction, but that was postponed after it was involved in a filing for federal Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Springfield. The major creditor for the property was listed as Berkshire Bank.

Anthony Mazzeo said the purchase and sale agreement included an amount "that worked out for everybody involved," including the bank and the former owner. He declined to disclose the price.

Jeff Halpin and his wife at the time, Susan, purchased the property, formerly Sophia's restaurant, for $695,000 in July 2008, according to Eagle files. The renovated site with seating for about 90 people opened in September that year as an Irish-style tavern with food, a full bar, pool tables and a lounge with video games and a jukebox.

To finance the acquisition and to support a major renovation, a $794,750 mortgage was secured from Legacy Banks, which later merged into Berkshire Bank. A U.S.


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Small Business Administration loan also helped fund the renovation costing about $300,000, which brought the total investment to just under $1 million.

Mazzeo said Friday there will be some renovations to the restaurant, "and we will add our own twist" to the decor. Initially, staff members from Mazzeo's Ristorante will manage the new bar while additional employees are hired. He said the staff at the sports bar will include 10 to 15 positions when in full operation.

In addition, Mazzeo announced a contest to name the sports-themed bar, which will be conducted through the Mazzeo's Facebook site and elsewhere. The winner will receive a free dinner for four after the establishment opens, he said.

"We really look forward to having a responsible operation for the Berkshires and something to make the area proud," said Michael Mazzeo.

To reach Jim Therrien:
jtherrien@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6247.
On Twitter: @BE_therrien