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Chef Josef Centeno's Bäco to Take Over Banquette and Last Bookstore Spaces

By David Markland
Published: Tuesday, December 28, 2010, at 02:33PM
DSC_7994 Pamela Rouse [Flickr]

Neighbors Banquette and The Last Bookstore will need to close or relocate to make room for Bäco, a new restaurant which will take over their spaces in June.

Lazy Ox co-owner and chef Josef Centeno plans to open a new restaurant called Bäco on Main Street in the spaces currently occupied by Banquette and the Last Bookstore.

"I'm really excited to be in the Old Bank [District]," Centeno said. He began discussions on the new space eight months ago and finally signed the lease last week. Derrick Moore from CB Richard Ellis helped him facilitate the deal.

Bäco's menu will center on a popular flatbread recipe Centeno created. Plans also include a beer and wine list.

Centeno ambitiously hopes to open by mid to late summer, though he won't actually get control of the space until June 1. He plans minimal changes to the location's current construction. "I want to keep the natural integrity of the space," he explained.

The two current tenants are still figuring out their next moves.

"We knew we would have to move when we signed the lease," said Josh Spencer, owner of The Last Bookstore. He explained that when he opened in December 2009 he was told the lease would end in twelve to eighteen months. He said he's always thought of the tight 1000-square-foot space as a "stepping stone" for his business.

Spencer is currently looking at "three or four options" with between 4,000 and 6,000 square feet, which he said he needs to accomodate the 20,000 books he has in storage. He also wants the new space to serve as an event venue. In the past, The Last Bookstore's has hosted music acts and fashion shows in its narrow aisles. Regardless of where he goes, Spencer says he intends to remain Downtown.

Banquette's Monica May expressed disappointment at the news. She said that she had been trying to renew her lease and sell Banquette for some time, and that she had not been notified that building owner Tom Gilmore had signed another deal for the space until blogdowntown reached her for comment.

May, who also co-owns The Nickel Diner, opened Banquette in November 2004. She said did not know if she would try and relocate the eatery.

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