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Spoleto Express closes; new restaurant to open next month

Spoleto Express, a restaurant at 225 King Street in Northampton, has closed.

Spoleto Express, a restaurant at 225 King Street in Northampton, has closed. JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

— After 10 years and countless meals, Spoleto Express at 225 King St. closed Saturday to make way for a new restaurant.

William Collins, chief operating officer for the Spoleto Restaurant Group, said the closing is an attempt to scale back the group’s operations.

Tully McColgan, owner of Tully O’Reilly’s Pub, now holds the lease for the building. He said he plans to open a “high-end fast food” restaurant there early next month called King Street Eats.

Collins said with seven restaurants under the group’s supervision, all with different menus and concepts, it seemed time to reduce the size of the operation and focus on the remaining enterprises.

Collins said the group feels it was “slightly overexposed” in the area and, if there are new locations in its future, it would be better if they all had similar concepts. In addition to Spoleto Express, the group operates Spoleto, Pizza Paradiso and Mama Iguana’s in downtown Northampton, another Mama Iguana’s in Springfield and another Spoleto in East Longmeadow.

In August the group closed the Paradise City Tavern at 1 Bridge St. in Northampton and relocated Spoleto there. Spoleto’s former space at 50 Main St. is now vacant.

McColgan said he and Tully O’Reilly’s chef John Peter Wentworth wanted to try something new with the Spoleto Express location.

King Street Eats will use fresh local ingredients whenever possible, and will feature fresh seafood along with its other menu items, McColgan said.

“We want to keep the same sort of concept (as Spoleto Express),” McColgan said.

McColgan, who also owns The Elevens and formerly owned Hot Harry’s Pizza in the space now occupied by The Toasted Owl, said he hopes to open the new restaurant by early February.

Collins said he and Spoleto owner Claudio Guerra would have been happy to let McColgan continue running the location under the Spoleto name if he didn’t already have his own vision for a new type of offering.

Closing Spoleto Express, the first restaurant he spearheaded with Guerra, was bittersweet, Collins said.

“It was a bit of a tear-jerker for me,” he said.

Bob Dunn can be reached at bdunn@gazettenet.com.

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