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Hanover founders may help reopen G'Vanni's.

Byline: Martin Luttrell

WORCESTER - The owner of the former G'Vanni's Ristorante Italiano on Pearl Street is in discussions with the founders of the Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts to manage and reopen the restaurant, according to records in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

Frank D. Kirby, whose restaurant was open for about seven weeks in December and January in the historic Bull Mansion at 55 Pearl St., filed for Chapter 11 reorganization last month. During a meeting with creditors in Bankruptcy Court on Tuesday, Mr. Kirby said he intends to file his plans with the court before March 12.

G'Vanni's suffered from some internal disputes before the head chef abruptly quit and business fell off, Mr. Kirby told the court.

Expenses were too great to remain open, and he closed the restaurant until another manager could be found to operate it. He will continue to own the restaurant business and the building under different corporations.

During Tuesday's hearing, Mr. Kirby said he had held discussions with Edward P. Madaus and associate Paul J. Demoga over the last three weeks. The men opened the Hanover Theatre in March of last year.

Mr. Kirby plans to pay all former employees who are owed money with funds from him and his wife.

Mr. Kirby, a Connecticut resident and longtime bankruptcy lawyer, said there is little needed to reopen the restaurant other than to get new management and have a new manager approved by the city.

He said that Mr. Madaus and Mr. Demoga have restaurant experience; they plan to continue the operation of the nonprofit Alumni Club of Worcester, which had operated in the upper floors of the building.

Mr. Madaus, reached by telephone at his home yesterday, referred details of the discussions to Mr. Kirby. "I think it's a great building and great location," he said.

Mr. Kirby, who had a licensing agreement with Jeffrey B. Karll, owner of the original G'Vanni's in the North End of Boston, to use the G'Vanni's name, will discontinue that agreement.

"In any event, we've worked to find a new operator to come in and run the restaurant," he told the court.

He also told several former employees of G'Vanni's who were present for Tuesday's hearing that they will be given the opportunity to apply for work when a plan to reopen is approved.

"If that happens, and in my view will happen, the restaurant will reopen with people who have restaurant experience," he said. "Hopefully, we can bring this fine building back to life.

"Mr. Madaus and his associate opened the Hanover Theatre. They have a lot more experience with Worcester than I did. They have more experience in this area than I. They had planned to open a restaurant near the theater. This is a perfect bridge for them.

"... They have done wonders in Worcester. They are the ones that can make this work."

Mr. Kirby said no deal has been finalized, and others could submit plans to the court to run a restaurant on the property.

He expects the court to take 30 to 40 days to approve a plan once he submits it.
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Title Annotation:MONEY
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Mar 7, 2009
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