By Tony Dobrowolski, The Berkshire Eagle
PITTSFIELD — Xavier Jones has served up his last Philly cheesesteak in the Berkshires.
Jones on Saturday closed up his Bigg Daddy’s Philly Steak House in the Crawford Square building at North and Depot streets. The closure leaves open a ground-floor retail space in the rear of Crawford Square.
Bigg Daddy’s, which opened in June 2018 in space formerly occupied by a butcher shop, closed because of a “lack of business,” Jones told The Eagle on Thursday. “The community didn’t support it.”
Jones, who is from Philadelphia, operated a similar restaurant in Adams before moving it to Pittsfield. He has no plans to try again elsewhere.
“I’m not opening up any more restaurants in the Berkshires,” Jones said.
Business in Pittsfield was good at first, he said, but the restaurant couldn’t sustain it.
“Every restaurant that opens up starts very busy,” said Jones, who said the location, a lack of signage and a lack of foot traffic on North Street made the business unsustainable.
He was surprised at the lack of customer traffic on North Street, considering that it is Pittsfield’s main commercial venue.
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“I come from a big city,” he said. “I thought big, and maybe I thought too big.
“I thought it would be great; it’s right downtown and there’s a lot of offices,” he said. “I thought I’d get support, but downtown didn’t support me at all. A lot of people complained about the parking; a lot said they don’t want to go on North Street.
“You come to a point where have to hold them or fold them,” he said. “I needed to fold them to cut my losses.”
Crawford Square contains an eclectic mix of businesses that include a real estate office, a gym, a wine bar, a bakery and a jewelry store on the ground floor, and a high-tech startup that is building a marketplace of professional video editors on the second floor.
The building’s owner said he is working on a proposal with another restaurateur who is interested in occupying the former Bigg Daddy’s space.
“I’m very optimistic that it will open with something that will be very good for the neighborhood,” said Steve Oakes, of Otis. Oakes, a former resident of Brooklyn, N.Y., purchased the 119-year-old Crawford Square building for $1.2 million in November 2015.
Bigg Daddy’s had five employees when it closed.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity that Pittsfield gave me,” Jones said. “I’d like to thank those in the community that supported me. I appreciate it and I appreciated the staff. From the beginning to the end, no matter what part you played, I appreciate what you gave to the business.”
Tony Dobrowolski can be reached at email@example.com or 413-496-6224.
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