Hot Dog Ranch set for March 17 re-opening at site of former Jimmy's restaurant

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PITTSFIELD — By mid-March, the Hot Dog Ranch could be serving its famous frankfurters from a once popular Italian restaurant.

Owners of the Linden Street eatery plans to relocate to the former Jimmy's Stonebridge Restaurant on West Housatonic, according to manager Craig Benoit.

"We plan to close March 13 and we'll re-open March 17," he said. "We have already had quite a few inspections at West Housatonic."

Benoit updated the city Licensing Board on Monday on the status of the Hot Dog Ranch, which acquired the Jimmy's liquor license and personal property through a real estate auction last fall. The board in late August approved the transfer of the annual all-alcohol restaurant license to the Hot Dog Ranch owners, who anticipated a Feb. 1 reopening date.

Pittsfield attorney Thomas Martin, representing the restaurant, initially told the board on Aug. 31 the relocation hinged on selling the Linden Street location and liquor license.

On Monday, the attorney said a pending deal was put on the back burner.

"The potential buyer has tabled the deal," he said, "but there is an opportunity to revive it."

Licensing board member Richard Stockwell was concerns about the Hot Dog Ranch's original liquor license becoming inactive — called a "pocket license."

"We have four to five establishments not using licenses and we're going to start taking action against them," he said. "We have some restaurants who haven't used licenses in two years."

"The plan isn't to keep [Linden Street] vacant for a long period of time," Martin replied.

At the board's March 28 meeting, liquor license holders for the closed Chameleons night club, Debbie Wong's and Baba Louie's will be asked to update the city on the potential sale or re-activation of their licenses.

Meanwhile another liquor license holder, Seven Winter Grille on Winter Street, expects to re-open in May, nearly a year after it closed for renovations. The owners had hoped to be back in business in January, but the need to redesign plans for a new elevator for the two-story structure was one of several reasons for the delay, according to the restaurant's attorney Jeff Lynch.

"They have some banquets booked in May and June, so they need to step up their timeline," he told the board.

The former home of Mazzeo's Ristorante, now located on South Street, has a restaurant on the first floor and second-floor banquet hall, the renovation of which includes the installation of an elevator to make it handicap accessible.

Since the construction would greatly impact the entire building, Lynch informed the board last June, the owners decided to temporarily close the restaurant until the work was completed.

Contact Dick Lindsay at 413-496-6233.


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