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There are now large “FOR RENT” signs on the boarded-up Louie’s Hot Dogs at Elmwood and Hodge avenues, but the restaurant owner said customers shouldn’t worry – he expects the neighborhood staple to eventually return to the Elmwood Village.

The question is where exactly it will be.

Since a fire shuttered the restaurant in February, owner Angelo Turco has been negotiating with his landlord for a new lease. The building sustained an estimated $200,000 damage as a result of the fire, making the old lease null and void, Turco said.

“We’re hoping that we can come to terms and reopen,” Turco said, adding that he wants to know by the July 13 start of the Taste of Buffalo festival whether he’s staying at the current location.

He also operates another Louie’s in the Town of Tonawanda, at the corner of Sheridan Drive and Grand Island Boulevard.

Turco said he has had a good relationship with landlord Mark Gademsky since the Elmwood location opened 22 years ago. But if they don’t come to terms, he said, he will look for another location in the Elmwood Village.

Turco, who lost his father and restaurant namesake, Louie, in May, said one of the things he’s looking for is a long-term commitment.

“We got our insurance check,” he said, referring to the fire. “So for us to dump the money back into the location for a short-term lease, it doesn’t make sense.”

email: lhammill@buffnews.com