Virus knocks out at least one Pittsfield restaurant; two others on the ropes

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PITTSFIELD — At least three small Pittsfield restaurants have closed since the COVID-19 pandemic began to hamper the local economy, and one of them already has returned its alcohol license to the city.

International House of Tacos on West Housatonic Street, the Rainbow Restaurant on First Street and Sen Sushi on North Street all are closed. Sen Sushi has turned in its license, according to the city clerk's office.Sen Sushi held an all-alcohol downtown restaurant license, which is only available to eateries located in downtown Pittsfield.

The Rainbow is closed until further notice, according to its website. International House of Tacos recently closed when three members of the family that owned the property became ill with COVID-19, owner Huy Van Huynh recently told the Licensing Board. The property is listed with Real Living Realty Professionals of Lenox for $195,000.

Huynh had been asked to appear at the board's previous meeting to provide an update on the restaurant's status after members heard the eatery had closed, board Chairman Thomas Campoli told The Eagle.

"There's a provision of Massachusetts law that indicates if licensees are not operating their businesses, one remedy that exists is to, essentially, cancel the license," Campoli said. "That's certainly not an action that we want to take, because as licenses are canceled, they are no longer available in Massachusetts because there is a quota."

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The board has given Huynh until October to determine if he plans to reopen the restaurant or try and market his beer and wine license, Campoli said.

"I believe he indicated that was a possibility," Campoli said when asked if Huynh was planning to sell. "We'll have to wait and see, obviously, but he was noncommittal about what he was going to do."

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Huynh did not return several phone calls seeking comment. His family has owned the property since the mid-1980s.

The restaurant, built in 1965, has operated under several names while serving different types of cuisines. It became the International House of Tacos in 2017.

The Rainbow was founded by members of the Sacchetti family of Pittsfield, who operated the eatery for 46 years, until 1978. But, the restaurant has had five operators since 2005 and has been sold twice at foreclosure auctions, most recently in 2008.

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The Rainbow's owner, John Economou, reopened the business in 2013, after it had been closed for over a year. The restaurant building itself, located across from the Pittsfield Common, is 130 years old.

According to a sign placed in the window, Economou is offering to lease the Rainbow's restaurant and bar as a "turn-key" operation, which means that a new operator would be able to move in and run the business in its current state.

Economou also did not return several phone calls from The Eagle seeking comment.

Sen Sushi opened in 2017, on the site of the former Shiro Lounge.

Tony Dobrowolski can be reached at tdobrowolski@berkshireeagle.com or 413-281-2755.


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