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LANDMARK WILLIAMSVILLE SITE TO HOUSE TAVERN

A landmark Williamsville building that has been home to several renditions of the Red Carpet restaurant, will reopen in mid-May as the Glen Park Tavern.

The Dakota Group, operator of The Dakota Grill, Ciao Ristorante and The Cigar Bar, all of which share a complex in Amherst's Maple Ridge Plaza, has taken over the Main Street facility.

Dakota Group principal Jerry Meyers said work is under way to turn the dormant restaurant building into a family style, village tavern.

"We see it as a relaxed place where you can come in jeans and have a beer," Meyers said. "It's also going to be a family place, with an extensive kids menu, where you can bring the whole gang."

Unlike Dakota Grill and Ciao, which feature sophisticated, upscale menus, the Glen Park Tavern will offer non-fussy fare such as steak sandwiches, burgers and pub fries.

"It's probably the Williamsville equivalent of Jimmy Mac's," Meyers said, noting the comfortable, easy atmosphere of the well-known Buffalo bar/restaurant.

Work is now under way to remodel the 129-year-old structure, at 5507 Main St. in the Village of Williamsville, to accommodate its new style. Meyers and business partner, Dan Vecere, will be getting rid of the building's trademark red carpets and other red decor, as part of an overall strategy to give it a brighter, more open look.

"This isn't a big-league renovation, there won't be any changes to the exterior. But we'll be refacing the bar, adding some windows, raising the ceiling and giving it an historic, old-time village look," Meyers said.

While the building dates to 1872, it reportedly did not become a restaurant until the 1950s, when it opened as the Towne Room. New owners in 1966 changed the name to Snyder Red Carpet, kicking off a 30-plus-year tradition of having Red Carpet as a key part of its identity.

After a brief closure in 1980, the well-known eatery was purchased by former State Supreme Court Justice James L. Kane, who built on the spot's reputation for attracting politicians, lawyers and judges. The Kane family name was on the door for more than a decade.

Most recently, the restaurant, which closed in mid-February, was known as Spina's Red Carpet.

The Dakota Group, which will soon count three restaurants, one cigar bar, and Rhapsody Records, the local label featuring Michael Civisca, among its holdings, may see additional expansion.

Meyers said while he's not looking to get too much bigger, he is interested in adding a couple more restaurants, including a City of Buffalo business.

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