Student Prince restaurant may be purchased, re-opened

Peter Picknelly expected to buy downtown eatery

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Peter Picknelly, owner of Peter Pan Bus Lines, has an agreement to buy the iconic restaurant, Student Prince Cafe & The Fort Dining Room.

“The Fort is such an important part of Springfield’s history,” said Picknelly. “It’s an iconic restaurant in our City, and I didn’t want to see it go dark.”

On Monday, the Student Prince restaurant’s longtime owner, Rudi Scherff, announced he was going to have to close. “During the past week I’ve learned how much the establishment means to so many families in western Massachusetts. Peter called and said ‘you can’t close.’ I said, ‘Peter, we’re not making any money and I’m getting older.’ Peter said, ‘if I work something out, I’d love it.’ So I’m so much appreciative.”

The Sheriff family has owned this restaurant for close to 75 years now; if this deal goes through, they’ll get to stay involved.

Barbara Meunier of the Student Prince restaurant told 22News, “The people, the staff, the customers, they’re friends; the thought of losing that and losing contact with each other was heartbreaking.”

The restaurant will still close for July and August with a goal of re-opening in September. Picknelly said, “We don’t want to mess it up, the ambiance of the Fort will remain, the beer steins, the great food.”

Picknelly also added that they plan to tweak the menu some and do some minor remodeling inside. Picknelly wouldn’t say how much he paid for it.

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