PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The long-rumored closure of Jae's Spice has occurred, but over a lease, not sales, according to the parties involved.
Jae Chung's North Street restaurant and Shabu 297, opened in the former Pressbox around the corner, were shuttered Tuesday night.
The Berkshire Eagle reports that business partners Lawrence M. Rosenthal and Joyce S. Bernstein, the restaurants' owners and founders of the original Spice restaurant there, have declined to renew their lease with Chung.
Bernstein told The Eagle they would reopen the North Street restaurant next week as Spice Dragon with Huy Huynh and Phang Huynh, who own 20 Railroad Street in Great Barrington and the Dragon Steakhouse on West Housatonic Street.
BTW, the Huynhs are the brothers of "Top Chef" Hung Huynh, who won the Bravo reality show in 2007. The Dragon Steakhouse was operated by the Huynhs' parents for years as Kim's Dragon. It had been open off and on since an oil tanker accident closed it in 2005 and reopened last year as a steakhouse. The Huynh brothers bought the former pub at 20 Railroad St. in 2008.
Chung had a three-year lease to run the restaurant under Jae's Inc. The original Spice was closed March 2008 after it incurred losses of more than $1.2 million. He told The Berkshire Eagle that he'd tried to extend the lease but the parting was amicable.
The former North Adams resident has operated a number of restaurants in the Boston area but ran into difficulties in North County with both Jae's Inn and Miss Adams Diner, among other ventures. He still owes thousands in state and federal tax according to MassLandRecords but has paid off a large sum.
Chung said he plans to reopen in another location.