Peter Picknelly to buy Student Prince Cafe, The Fort - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Peter Picknelly to buy Student Prince Cafe, The Fort

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The Student Prince Cafe and The Fort Dining Room will be purchased by Peter Picknelly, chairman and CEO of Peter Pan Bus Lines, after an agreement was reached Thursday.

Managing partner Rudi Scherff announced Monday that the 79-year-old German restaurant would temporarily close while sale was pending.

"The details haven't been finalized, but we are going to shut the place down for July and August to do some repairs, and open right after Labor Day," Scherff said.

The restaurant will be fundamentally the same place with the same look and the same menu, he said.

"We are very excited and gratified," Scherff said, adding that he will remain on the staff after the purchase.

Since the announcement, there have been lines out the door for seating every night this week.

Scherff said the restaurant has had financial difficulty for a quite some time. Three and a half years ago they closed the storefront deli section of the restaurant because of a decline in lunch traffic.

Scherff said they were looking to sell the restaurant to someone who is qualified and enthusiastic about the opportunity.

The Fort is the last of the downtown retail and restaurant institutions that anchored the city's business since it opened in 1935.

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