Owner hopes to hand over ‘The Lantern’ to new operator in downtown Pittsfield | Business

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The Photo Lantern

Bjorn Somlo, owner of Lantern Bar & Grill in Pittsfield, plans to seek a new operator for the restaurant after it closes after service on Saturday.




PITTSFIELD – The owner of the Lantern Bar & Grill on North Street will be looking for someone to run the business after the restaurant closes from Sunday.

Bjorn Somlo is asking $150,000 for the iconic restaurant at the corner of North and Linden streets, which he revived in 2019 after being closed for two years. Somlo only owns the company. The 122-year-old building The Lantern occupies at 455 North St. is owned by Mill Town Capital of Pittsfield.


The Lantern in Pittsfield closes at the end of April

The details of the sale involve the transfer of The Lantern’s all-alcohol restaurant license, which must be approved by Pittsfield’s Licensing Board and the State Alcohol Beverage and Control Commission; the transfer of Somlo’s 15-year, $1,000 per month lease with Mill Town Capital; all of the restaurant’s equipment and intellectual property, as well as its name, website and associated social media, Somlo said.

Somlo said he’s invested $350,000 in The Lantern since it reopened in 2019. The electrical system, plumbing, bathrooms, kitchen and ADA-certified range hood are all new, he said.

He does not plan to hire a real estate agent.

“I’ll start with word of mouth,” he said, “because with something like that, you’d really like someone who knows what they’re getting into. We really think that’s right there, ready for someone to hit a home run with it.”

Somlo, who also owns the Nudel restaurant in Lenox, said he has received inquiries about acquiring The Lantern since announcing in early April that he intended to close the business.







bjorn somlo (copy)

Bjorn Somlo is looking for a new operator for The Lantern Bar & Grill in Pittsfield. He is photographed, in December, in another business, the new Nudel Bar: Comfort & Craft.



“I’m interested in selling to someone who wants to make a deal,” Somlo said. “I think anyone who buys it at that price will be there and do a bit of work and have a very good deal for them. The previous numbers have proven that.”

The lantern made more than $650,000 in sales before the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, he said.

The effects of the pandemic on business over the past two years, combined with his father’s recent serious health issues, prompted Somlo to shut down, he told The Eagle earlier this month.

Somlo, who grew up in and around the Berkshires, is also a chef and has been involved in the Berkshire restaurant scene since he was 16. He frequented The Lantern before it closed in 2017 and befriended former owner Mark Papas, whose family had been in the business since 1916.


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Papas closed The Lantern in August 2017 after a recently installed cooking system failed to comply with municipal fire regulations. Papas then told The Eagle that the cost of bringing the system into compliance would be significant.

The origins of the lantern can be traced back to a lunch cart on Summer Street that Mark Papas grandfather, Gus Papas, and his business partner, William Yerazunis, started in 1916. In the 1930s, the two men opened a restaurant known as The Puritan at North and Linden Streets. Gus Papas died in 1949 and the restaurant was renamed The Lantern after Papas father, William G. Papas, bought out Yerazunis in 1952.

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