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Bella Notte to close, new restaurant planned for space

The restaurant that sits atop Hucklehill Road in Bernardston and has been providing diners a spectacular view of the valley for more than a decade — in its current incarnation — will close on Jan. 26.

Owner Abaz Cecunjanin has announced he will close Bella Notte Ristorante to operate another restaurant in Greenfield.

According to Sandri Companies, which owns the Hucklehill Road property and the building there, fine diners shouldn’t worry because the energy company has plans to open another 360-seat restaurant there by mid-February or early March, at the latest. The property has hosted a restaurant for more than four decades.

“No one’s going to lose that beautiful view,” said Sandri Chief Operating Officer Michael Behn.

According to Bella Notte’s Web site, Cecunjanin, who could not be reached for comment on Friday, will open a restaurant in the newly renovated Country Club of Greenfield.

Cecunjanin has not yet chosen a name for the new restaurant and it is not yet clear what type of food will be served, but that restaurant will open April 1 and will serve lunch and dinner seven days a week to club members and to the public, according to club President Timothy Farrell.

He said that Cecunjanin will take over food services for the club, which seats 70 in the main dining room, 30 in the smaller, private dining room, and 165 in the pavilion. The club has asked the town for a full, year-round liquor license.

The golf club just rebuilt its clubhouse, which was destroyed in a fire last year.

History at Hucklehill

Cecunjanin opened Bella Notte with his brother in 2001. He has been leasing the space from Sandri since then.

In 1971, the restaurant opened as Phases.

Its name later changed to Muchmores, and in 1989 Sandri bought the restaurant and the property, which included a nine-hole golf course.

Sandri expanded the golf course to 18 holes and changed the restaurant’s name back to Phases before finally settling on Andiamo in the mid 1990s.

Andiamo served and Bella Notte has always served Northern Italian cuisine.

Sandri’s new restaurant

Behn said the energy company’s hospitality division is currently looking for someone to manage a new restaurant.

“We don’t have a name and we’re not sure what type of food we’ll be serving yet,” said Behn. “We will have a nightclub venue on Friday and Saturday nights, and it will be fine dining.”

He said the restaurant will also be open for different types of events, including weddings and parties.

Behn said Sandri plans to do extensive renovations and will heat the building with wood pellets, a growing part of the energy company’s alternative energy emphasis.

“We’re looking forward to this venture,” said Behn. “It just fell into our lap.”

Behn said Cecunjanin has agreed to help Sandri’s hospitality division transition and will surrender Bella Notte’s liquor license.

“We’ll have to get permission from the town to have the liquor license transferred,” said Behn.

“Abaz wanted to go to a smaller venue,” said Behn. “We have worked really well with him from the start and we’ll continue to do so.”

Sandri owns three restaurants and three golf courses, including Crumpin’ Fox Club and Zeke’s Grill, which is located in the clubhouse on the golf course.

“Our hospitality division has a lot of experience, so I think people will be pleased with our choices,” said Behn.

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