Lenox restaurants transition ahead of tourism season

Monday April 16, 2012

LENOX -- With prime time for warm-weather tourism fast approaching, there are some departures, arrivals and changes pending on the ever-changing dining scene in town.

Fin, the Japanese restaurant owned by Jason Macioge and managed by his brother, Nick, has been sold and is undergoing renovations prior to reopening as Brava, a wine and tapas (small plate) bar.

The Select Board has approved an all-alcoholic restaurant license for the Housatonic Street establishment's new owner, Whitney Asher, who relocated to Lenox recently from California.

The total price of $218,000 includes $175,000 for the business assets, $40,000 for renovations, and $3,000 for startup costs.

The establishment is in a building at 27 Housatonic St. owned by Kelly Khoury Cady, trustee for the Khoury Family Trust. Annual rent for the premises is $18,600.

Following a recent public hearing, Asher said he plans to open "as soon as possible" once the Alcoholic Beverage and Control Commission (ABCC) in Boston approves the application for the 34-seat restaurant.

ABCC approvals can take from six weeks to six months, depending on the availability of the owner if a site visit is scheduled.

Fin, which opened in 2004 in the space formerly occupied by the Village Snack Shop, was the only spot in town devoted to sushi and other Japanese cuisine. It had held a wine and beer restaurant license.

Attorney Jeffrey Lynch, representing Asher, said the plan is to open for dinner nightly at 5, with lunch service likely to be added on weekends in the summer.

Asher has prior experience in the wine and food business. He told The Eagle he was last employed at Whole Foods in Venice, Calif., where he had been living before moving to the Berkshires. He said menu details as well as exact hours and days of operation are still to be worked out, but he intends to remain open year-round.

To Selectman David Roche's comment that the absence of sushi "will disappoint a few people," Asher replied with a smile: "I will make sushi as a special, if necessary."

"Glad to see the space occupied," said Selectman Kenn eth Fowler.

Macioge still owns Bistro Zinc and Betty's Pizza Shack, as well as a half-interest in Frankie's Ristorante. Other than wishing Fin's new owner well, he has declined comment on the sale as well as on any plans he might have for his remaining restaurants in town.

Meanwhile, Spoon, at 26 Housatonic St., which currently serves breakfast and lunch and sells ice cream late into the day and evening in the summer, has applied for a wine and beer license. The Select Board will hold a public hearing on the application at its next meeting on April 25.

Co-owner Jason Dragonetti said there are no plans to serve dinner, but if the license is approved, Spoon will also offer light fare as well as ice cream in the afternoon and evening.

With a license transfer already approved by the ABCC, Gateways Inn owner Eiran Gazit said that next Thursday, he plans to open his revamped restaurant with a price-fixed menu, by reservation only, and an adjoining piano bar with light fare such as soups, sandwiches and platters.


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