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Rrazz Room moving to Raven; Ramada New Hope owner switching to new franchise

Ramada New Hope

Ramada New Hope

The three big “R”s of lodging and entertainment on New Hope’s Route 179/202 corridor — Raven, Rrazz, and Ramada — are all getting ready to announce significant business moves.

The Ramada will change to a Choice Hotel, and Rrazz Room, currently located at the Ramada, is moving to former competitor the Raven.

In the process, Raven owner Steven Lau is helping to create an even bigger entertainment mecca near the intersection of Route 179/West Bridge Street and Sugan Road, one that includes the New Hope Lodge, and will soon be home to popular New Hope restaurant Tastebuds.

Said Ramada New Hope owner Thomas Frank, “We’re considering a change to Choice Hotels. Our five-year contract with Ramada is up, and we’re interested in taking advantage of the Choice Hotels system, but we’ll be a Wyndham Ramada right up until a certain date.”

Brands under the Choice Hotel banner include Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Sleep Inn, Quality, Clarion, EconoLodge, and Rodeway Inn.

“We’re going to do our own thing,” added Frank. “We’ve had offers for new entertainment, but we want to be a good neighbor to nearby residents. I’ve enjoyed working with Rrazz Room owner Robert Kotonly, and he’s a great guy.

“The community has responded to our approach, and we’ve turned into a full-fledged hotel, rather than a bar,” continued Frank. “New Hope is growing into a world-class destination, and we’re making our place an enjoyable stop from which to explore New Hope and Bucks County during the week, or over the weekend.” The Ramada Inn New Hope is located at 6426 Route 202.

ramada rrazz signRobert Kotonly and Rory Paul own four Rrazz Rooms around the country, and their last show at the Ramada location will be on Oct. 17.

“We moved here in 2013, and have had a good two years, but it’s more important where you are than what you’re bringing in,” observed Kotonly.

“An opportunity came up when our lease was over, and a Rodeway Inn is not a good fit with running a cabaret/night club. The new owner of the Raven knew about the Rrazz Room, and we talked about collaborating,” Kotonly recounted.

“It was a ‘perfect storm,'” he said. “There’s big things coming at the Raven.”

Kotonly is not alone in his opinion. New Hope’s Raven at 385 W. Bridge St. is already an entertainment complex in and of itself, and new owner Steve Lau is slowly building his vision of the neighborhood as an emerging hot spot.

Said Lau, “The more we can make this area a local enclave, the better.”

The Raven

The Raven

The first Rrazz Room show at the Raven is scheduled for Nov. 14.

“We’re already planning a stage in the Oak Room, along with another space, and there will be a slight revamp of the restaurant,” said Lau. “It’s kind of a no-brainer — once a stage is ready, they would be my first call, and they called and beat me to it!”

“I’m a big admirer of what they do around the country,” he added.

When rumors of the change of ownership at the Raven began circulating some months ago, a popular variation involved the purported purchase of the business by a New York City nightclub owner. While Lau has lived in New York, he’s more of a local boy than most folks realize: he grew up in Hershey, where he helped form indie rock band Ocean Blue in 1986, playing keyboards and saxophone. Lau’s also owned a house in Carversville for the last 15 years, along with a record label or two.

“I come from a musical family– I think that’s my value add,” he said. “But I’m just a keeper in a long line. Everything we do is with an eye to the past, and keeping the heart of it.”

“This place is magical,” continued Lau. “Especially when everybody’s singing on a Friday or Saturday night.

“We’re going to bring nationally-renowned talent to the Raven.”

Three major New Hope businesses making three seemingly shrewd business decisions, as they position themselves for what promises to be an interesting and potentially lucrative future.



About the author

Charlie Sahner

“Once you can accept the universe as matter expanding into nothing that is something, wearing stripes with plaid comes easy." - Einstein

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