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Williamstown Trendy Eatery To Fill Former Mezze
By: Andy McKeever On: 08:55PM / Tuesday March 29, 2011
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Restaurateurs Gill Rubenstein and David Aldecoa spoke to the Selectmen on Monday night with their attorney, Adams Filson.

 WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The owners of the new restaurant Hops and Vines, in the former Mezze building, said they are bringing the "city trendiness to the country friendliness."

The new Water Street restaurant received its liquor license Monday and the owners presented the Selectmen its idea of a mix between fine and casual dining.

"The idea is to renovate it into two sections. One side will be the hops — the causal side — and the other will be vines — the fine side," owner Gill Rubenstein said. "It's a trendy but friendly concept."

The owners are renovating the inside of the building with a new fireplace, tasting room and a partition to divide the two types of dining. But the real draw, they said, will be the outdoor beer garden.

Rubenstein said it will carry a "sizeable" beer list, on draft and in bottles, that will feature international and local micro brews and a large wine selection. Co-owner David Aldecoa said he is a certified sommelier.

The restaurant will feature seating on two outside porches with seating for up to 92 people as well as live music. It is expected to be open between May 16 and June 1. When the restaurant opens it will start with only dinners, opening at 5 p.m., but the owners said they would like to expand into brunch service, too. However, more serviceable parking would need to be created.

Foodwise, the owners have yet to decide exactly the angle. Rubenstein said they are leaning toward French-American food but it will depend on which chef they hire.

The owners said they both have extensive restaurant experience. Aldecoa said he got started when he opened a restaurant with his brother in Arizona more than a decade ago. He then worked at a resort casino in Las Vegas, where he first began working with Rubenstein. The two both moved to New York City and worked in various places there including the Essex House.

Aldecoa worked his way through the ranks on the food and beverage management side while Rubenstein's career is in financial consulting. Rubenstein said he worked with top chefs as a consultant in asset management.

"The capacity was more to make the chef's artistic side better on the financial side," Rubenstein said after presenting to the selectmen.

Rubenstein has opened other restaurants before, the most recent being Unwined in New York City.



Tags: Hops and Vines, Rubenstein, Aldecoa, Mezze      
Williamstown To See Restaurant Ownership Changes
By: Andy McKeever On: 05:58PM / Thursday March 17, 2011
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — There is about to be a shakeup in the town's restaurant scene.

Both Michael's Restaurant and Hobson's Choice have been put up for sale and the former Mezze site on Water Street will soon be filled with a new upscale restaurant.

Owner of the former Mezze location on Water Street Charles Fox said he could not reveal the details of the restaurant but the owners expect to open in June. The new owners have good reputations of running "upscale and trendy" restaurants in New York City, Fox said. The business is listed as Hops and Vines to be managed by Gil Rubenstein.

"In another 10 days there will be a more complete announcement," Fox said on Thursday. "They hope to have it up and running before Williams' graduation."

A liquor license for Hops and Vines will come before the Selectmen next month. The restaurant has just recently filed as a company with the Secretary of State and has yet to submit information to the town's Board of Health or Building Inspector.

Michael's Restaurant, a Route 2 mainstay, may also switch hands. The restaurant is advertised for sale at a price of $425,000 through the real estate company Alton and Westall. Michael Nikitas, who helps operate the restaurant with his sister and owner Cindy Nikitas, confirmed Thursday that the business is for sale but refused to elaborate. He said he would provide more information in the next few weeks.

The business has been in the Nikitas family for 40 years. It first opened at as an A&W Root Beer stand and became Michael's in 1984 when Michael Nikitas transformed his family's stand into the restaurant it is today. Cindy Nikitas purchased it from her brother in 1991 running it as the chef and owner. The two teamed up to run it in 2000.



Hobson's Choice is also advertised for sale for $495,000 but owner Daniel Campbell said he does not expect to close it. Campbell, who has been running the restaurant for 20 years, is looking for a new business partner after his former one left the establishment.

"We're testing the waters. I'd rather not sell it," Campbell said on Wednesday. "I'm actively pursuing partners."

Hobson's Choice, also on Water Street, has been in business for 20 years.

 



Tags: Michael's, Hobson's Choice, Hops and Vines      
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