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A former Perkins restaurant in Hamburg that lost its franchise has been sold to an Amherst restaurateur, who plans to open his second local restaurant at the McKinley Parkway location.

Ming Li, owner of Kyoto Japanese Restaurant at 4060 Maple Road, has acquired 4245 McKinley Pkwy., paying $925,000 through A&J Ming LLC to buy the real estate, equipment and assets, said Jim Geiger, director of business development at McGuire Development Co., who brokered the deal.

Li and his wife bought it from The Restaurant Group LLC, a Rochester-based former franchisee of the Perkins Restaurant and Bakery chain. Li plans a second restaurant, but it won't be the same format as Kyoto, a hibachi and sushi restaurant that opened several years ago in a former Bennigan's restaurant location next to Red Robin.

"I'm excited about the possibility of a new restaurant opening at the Hamburg location," Geiger said.

Paul Coleman, general manager at Kyoto, said the new restaurant "is not going to be anything Asian," but rather will be a high-end steakhouse called Titan's Steakhouse. The menu will be American fusion-style, with "good steaks, different sides and a good atmosphere."

"Orchard Park's a great location," said Coleman, who will be general manager of Titan's. "There's not too much out there like that."

The new owners are currently just trying to "get through the holidays at Kyoto" before they determine how much remodeling will be needed at the new location, he said. Plans call for opening the restaurant in mid-March or early April, depending on how soon the new owners get their liquor license for it.

This is the second of six former Perkins locations in the Buffalo and Rochester areas that are being sold by The Restaurant Group and listed through Geiger. The firm, which held the rights to the Perkins brand in Central and Western New York for the past 10 years, abruptly lost its franchise agreement with Memphis-based Perkins & Marie Callender's LLC in May over lapsed franchise payments and a failure to adhere to operating standards, the parent company said at the time.

Perkins said in May that it had tried to work with the franchisee, co-owned and run by Philip C. Gelsomino II, but wasn't satisfied with the Rochester group's performance. The Restaurant Group had already closed the Hamburg restaurant in January on its own, before the company yanked the franchise, but six other locations closed after the termination.

So far, Geiger has sold one in Penfield, outside of Rochester, in addition to the Hamburg site. He's still seeking buyers for a property on Transit Road in Amherst and another on Military Road in the Town of Niagara, as well as two more in the Rochester suburbs of Gates and Greece. All are free-standing buildings that are identical in size and design, with 5,791 square feet of space and seating for 210 to 240 people.

"We've had some interests and activity in the other four locations, and I'm in the middle of interviewing people and showing them the property," Geiger said.

Founded in 1958, Perkins operates more than 440 restaurants in 34 states and five Canadian provinces, but mostly in Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin, Florida and Pennsylvania.

In New York State, however, the restaurant chain has reduced its footprint. It still has a corporate-owned restaurant in Olean and also has locations in Cortland, Middletown, Newburgh, Plattsburgh, Wappinger Falls and on Staten Island in New York City.

It has 52 restaurants in Pennsylvania, 16 in New Jersey and 30 in Ohio.?

email:?jepstein@buffnews.com