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New restaurant will open in place of G'Vanni's.

Byline: Martin Luttrell

WORCESTER - The city License Commission yesterday approved a new manager for a restaurant that will open in the Bull Mansion building at 55 Pearl St., on the same day that the owner of the previous restaurant filed a plan to reorganize the business in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

The new restaurant, to be known as 55 Pearl Street, will open on April 15, according to documents filed with the bankruptcy court and with the License Commission. The commission approved Lisa M. Saari of Worcester as the new manager.

Worcester Restaurant Associates LLC, which owns the restaurant, had operated G'Vanni's Ristorante Italiano in the building in December and January before closing and filing for Chapter 11 reorganization. The Pearl Street restaurant is downtown near Main Street.

G'Vanni's suffered from internal disputes before the head chef abruptly quit and business fell off, according to Frank D. Kirby, who owns the building and restaurant under different corporations. Expenses were too great to remain open, and he closed the restaurant until another manager could be found to operate it.

A third-party corporation formed by Edward P. Madaus and associate Paul J. Demoga, who opened the Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts in March of last year, will operate the new restaurant, according to documents filed in court yesterday. William Giannopoulos is a third member of the new corporation, known as 55 Pearl Street Restaurant Corp. LLC.

"We're hopeful that the building can be kept in a high public service type of use," Mr. Kirby said. "These people have brought to the city of Worcester lots of good cultural events," he said of Mr. Madaus and Mr. Demoga. "The licensing board was ecstatic.

"My family will have no interest in the restaurant. This plan is a plan proposed by the current owner and newcomers. It is a plan that will pay creditors largely what they're owed."

Mr. Kirby expects the court to make a decision on his plan in 30 to 40 days. No hearing has been set on the restaurant reorganization plan filed yesterday.

Ms. Saari, who worked at G'Vanni's and TiNovo, another restaurant that had previously operated under a different owner in the same building, has also worked at Block 5 on Green Street.

She said the restaurant's chef is Ian Hickey, formerly executive chef at TriBeCa on Shrewsbury Street.

She said 55 Pearl will feature American cuisine. The management plans to set up a shuttle between the restaurant and the Hanover Theatre, and is looking at having dinner/entertainment packages on the third floor of the building. Private functions will also be held there, she said.

"We will say yes to everything," Ms. Saari said yesterday, taking a break from supervising contractors preparing the restaurant for opening. "The building has the ability to morph into anything."

She said the Alumni Club of Worcester, which leases space on the upper floors, will have a dinner there on April 9.

"The Alumni Club is a wonderful way to showcase the building and the restaurant," she said.

"When G'Vanni's was here the food was great, but it had problems getting the food out quickly. We will have a 10-minute menu for lunch. We're not going to bank only on business from the Hanover Theatre. We'll reach out and do other things. We've hired the best of the best."

ART: PHOTO

PHOTOG: T&G Staff/JIM COLLINS

CUTLINE: Ian Hickey, the chef, and Lisa Saari, the manager, at the upstairs bar.
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Title Annotation:LOCAL NEWS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Apr 3, 2009
Words:578
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