PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Renovation work in Barcelona Tapas & Bar is finally scheduled to begin now that the owners have received a building permit.
After some months of discussion, the Licensing Board approved an alteration of premise on Monday, allowing the owner to begin interior renovations on the former Johnny's Beach Club at 87 Wahconah St.
"The building department has issued the building permit and it is ready to be picked up by the contractor," attorney Jeffrey Lynch said. "Progress has been made as we have gone through the channels here."
The owners indicated last summer that instead of opening the new restaurant as a tapas bar, they planned to improve the site in hopes of selling it. But work stalled late last year after the building department indicated that they needed to provide additional reports before issuing permits.
Lynch said this report has been submitted and they plan to overhaul the interior and make the restaurant Americans With Disabilities Act compliant. He estimated that renovation work would take between eight to ten months.
The owners indicated that they do still plan that if they cannot sell after the renovations they would open up the restaurant in some capacity to keep the alcohol license paired with the establishment while making the business more attractive to a potential buyer.
In other business, the board approved a downtown wine and malt restaurant license for Uncorked Wine & Beer Lounge that plans to reopen under new management in March.
Chairman Thomas Campoli did have some initial questions and noted that the specific downtown license being applied for comes with some stipulations, including having a full kitchen and serve food.
"There are certain licenses that are earmarked for the downtown," he said. "You need to be a qualified downtown restaurant."
Owners Harmony Edwards Persip and Tanya Edwards said they will serve food with a kitchenette but also plan to partner with an incoming business that makes pre-made food.
"We have a full menu and offer paninis, grilled cheese, fruit plates, cheese platters," Edwards Persip said. "We don't have a full kitchen with a fire suppression system but we do have a kitchenette area."
Campoli was not sure if the kitchenette qualified as a kitchen and Edwards added that the prior owners did not serve any food.
"I don't want to say it is unfair but two other people were there and they were there for years," she said.
Board member Dina Lampiasi agreed and asked if the board asked previous owners these same questions. She suggested that it might have been a past oversight.
The board ultimately did not want to hold Uncorked up and awarded them the license but did ask that they come to a future meeting with a full menu.
• The board approved an alteration of premises at The Rusty Anchor and attorney Darren Lee said they just plan to move the bar.
"They decide to move it about 90 degrees so the club members can sit at the bar and look over the lake rather than looking at a back wall," he said. "Nothing else in the business changes."
• The board approved an annual class II auto dealers license to Mom's Auto Sales on Newell St. and owners Jamie Traversa and Christopher Barris plan to expand the business to used car sales.
"I have been office managing Associated Auto Rebuilders for over 10 years and many of our customers have requested our help in finding them clean reliable used cars," Traversa said. "Some have stated that it is sometimes intimidating to go to big dealerships, especially women, so that is what gave me the idea."
• The board also approved an annual class II auto dealers license to D & K Affordable Motors. Owner Kaitlyn Rathbun plans to expand her business in Lee to Pittsfield.
"We get a lot of customers from Pittsfield, so I feel having a small inventory of cars in Pittsfield would make things easier," she said.
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Local Real Estate Firm Trying to Support Small Businesses
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Nocher Realty is lending a helping hand to fellow businesses during the COVID-19 outbreak.
"If we don't support them through these unusual times they won’t be there when this all blows over, when business is back to normal we need these shops back in action," owner Jason Nocher said. "Small business is the backbone of the Berkshires."
Nocher Realty has partnered with various businesses throughout Berkshire County including the Corner Lunch and Berkshire Printing & Embroidery.
In many cases, Nocher has purchased something directly from the local business to help sustain and promote it. Like purchasing 50 breakfast sandwiches from the Corner Lunch and using its Facebook page to invite the public grab one, first come, first served.
The online store features a variety of vendors and is open to all local residents. Those who have SNAP benefits or those who have recently lost their jobs or are facing economic hardship from the pandemic are eligible for $30 a week in free food from the Virtual Farmers Market.
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Inspired by the book "We're Going on a Bear Hunt," which Susan Wrba likes to read with her 2-year-old son, Wrba is organizing a "bear hunt" across the Berkshires from Friday, April 3, to Sunday, April 5. click for more