New steakhouse to update, replace Opa Opa in Southampton

By M.J. TIDWELL

@mjtidwell781

Published: 04-14-2018 2:14 PM

SOUTHAMPTON — The Opa Opa Steakhouse and Brewery in Southampton is getting a fresh concept and a facelift, according to new owner, manager, and executive chef, John Piskor.

“I’m a young man who has basically decided to bet the family farm and open my own restaurant,” Piskor said.

The new concept will be known as JP’s Steakhouse and Grille and will be a revamp of the Opa Opa Restaurant with an “upscale casual” feel at casual prices, according to Piskor.

With new carpets, fresh coats of interior and exterior paint and a changeup in color scheme, Piskor said JP’s will move away from the Southwestern theme and vintage 1970s style of Opa Opa.

On Thursday, a carpenter could be seen making updates to the dining area and on Friday, painters finished coating the outside of the restaurant with a fresh layer of spruce green paint.

Piskor said he’s going for a “New England steakhouse” concept — clean, classy and upscale, but at affordable pricing.

“It looks similar to the old restaurant, but everything is new,” he said. “We’ve given everything a facelift.”

As the owner and manager and executive chef, Piskor said he’s excited about the new venture, but knows how hard it can be for a restaurant to survive.

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A chef for 16 years, Piskor said he’s been a part of five different restaurant launches in the Pioneer Valley from Chef Wayne’s Big Mamou in Williamsburg to the Valley View Grille at Ledges Golf Club.

He most recently left his position as food and beverage director for the Pioneer Valley Hotel Group to launch his own restaurant.

As far as food, he said he plans to take old favorites and turn them into creative new dishes. Diners won’t find just plain prime cuts, he said.

“They’ll definitely remind you of a steakhouse, but they’ll be updated,” he said.

The Opa Opa mug club won’t be continued, Piskor said, as the previous owners told him there were only 15 or so members left. However, he said loyal mug club members should be on the lookout for the possibility of some new, “quirky” ideas for the bar.

He also won’t be continuing the brewery onsite, as it requires a separate licensing process and he doesn’t have brewery experience. He said he may look into reopening the brewery or subleasing with a local brewer at some point in the future.

In the meantime, the restaurant will pivot to offering local favorite craft beers, a wine list containing both local wines and classics from places like California, as well as a selection of specialty cocktails.

Depending on licensing, Piskor said he hopes to have JP’s open by the first or second week of May. He said that as the opening nears, he’ll begin posting cooking videos and other information on Facebook to show off the new concept and culinary offerings.

Piskor will only be taking over the Opa Opa Restaurant location; he said Kaptain Jimmy’s in Agawam is still owned by brothers Tony and Themos Rizos and the Brewmaster’s Tavern is operated by Dennis Bates, owner of Brewmasters Brewing Services, LLC.

According to a February posting on Canon Real Estate’s website, the restaurant was listed for sale at $799,000. Piskor said he worked out a five-year lease purchase, and declined to say what price was reached, although he did say it was less than the listed price. Originally, he said he wasn’t interested due to the high price, but over time, he said “things fell into place.”

Opa Opa Brewing Company beer is distributed by Yiannis Distributing Company, and Piskor plans to continue offering Opa Opa beers at JP’s Steakhouse and Grille.

M.J. Tidwell can be reached at mjtidwell@gazettenet.com. ]]>