BRATTLEBORO -- The former Bickford's at the Exit 3 roundabout is undergoing a transformation.
Ramunto's, a regional brick oven pizza chain with eight other restaurants around New Hampshire and Vermont, plans to open its ninth restaurant in the former Howard Johnson's building on Route 9 just before you cross the bridge into Chesterfield, N.H.
"I've been looking for the right spot in Brattleboro for two years," said David Ingerman, part owner of the Ramunto's Restaurant in Keene, N.H. "For the past few years that building has been an eyesore and we are looking forward to change that."
The first Ramunto's opened in West Lebanon, N.H. and there are now restaurants in Keene, Claremont, and Newport, N.H., as well as in Bennington, Williston, St. Johnsbury and Quechee in Vermont.
The restaurant bills itself as offering New York style pizza from fresh dough. The menu also features salads, calzones, pasta and hot and cold subs.
Ingerman, who lives near Rutland, said work crews have been hard at work on the exterior and interior of the building on the roundabout. He said he wants to retain some of the classic feeling of the inside of the former Howard Johnson's.
"I'm a sucker for old buildings. We want to keep some of the historic character of the place," he said. "I think people who have been coming there for years will recognize some of the fixtures when they come back in."
The outside work is coming along nicely he said, and he expects the exterior work to be done soon with winter coming on. He said he has been working closely with the property management company that owns the building.
Workers will be inside during the coming few months and he hopes to open some time in late winter or early spring.
"We are redoing it top to bottom," said Ingerman. "I think people are going to be very pleased when we are done."
The location is perfect with its parking and tourists getting onto and off of the highway will have another option when coming through Brattleboro.
Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; or 802-254-2311, ext. 279. You can follow Howard on Twitter @HowardReformer.