New England Newspapers
PITTSFIELD -- The former Dakota restaurant, which closed in April, has been purchased by a Pittsfield-based group that plans to re-open it as a new restaurant sometime next year.
ZC Group LLC of Pittsfield purchased the property at 1035 South St. for $775,000 from DWH II LLC of Idaho, according to documents on file at the Middle Berkshire Registry of Deeds.
The new ownership group plans to renovate the facility and open it as a new restaurant sometime in 2014, according to Wayne Chea, ZC Group’s business manager. The new restaurant will retain some of the popular Dakota’s traditional menu offerings, but have a more "Oriental touch," with items like sushi, Chea said.
Chea said the new owners are familiar with the Dakota’s popularity and traditions.
"It’s a great opportunity to make it better," he said.
The new ownership group’s manager, Jia Ming Zheng, also is listed as the vice president of Sakura Hibachi Steakhouse Inc., which owns Koto Hibachi Steakhouse on Dalton Avenue, according to documents filed with the Secretary of State’s office.
Zheng’s partner in ZC Group, Meng Yao Chen of Pittsfield, is not associated with Sakura Hibachi, according to those documents.
Chea said the new owners are mostly family members and that Zheng is the only partner associated with Koto, which opened in June 2012.
Chea said other members of the new ownership group are associated with property development.
The Koto Hibachi Steakhouse is not associated with either the Koto Japanese Steakhouse in Latham, N.Y., or the KOTO Japanese Restaurant in Albany, N.Y.
Both Chea and ZC Group’s attorney, Ralph Cianflone of Pittsfield, said the new owners had been looking to open another restaurant in the Berkshires because Koto has been successful.
Chea said the group had been interested in opening another eatery that would be located closer to Lenox.
"They’ve been looking at another space, and this happened to come up," Cianflone said.
The assessed value of the 1.1-acre South Street parcel that contains the Dakota is $925,100, according to the City of Pittsfield. That figure includes the value of both the building and the land. The value of that parcel has been depreciating. It was assessed at $1.12 million in fiscal 2012, city records show.
The Dakota opened on South Street in July 1984 on the site of a former Howard Johnson’s restaurant. Originally constructed in 1954, the restaurant was destroyed by fire in March 1988, but re-opened that October following more than $1.25 million in renovations.
The Dakota closed on April 28. Its owner said it couldn’t continue running the restaurant because of a lack of cash and historic debt.