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May 15, 2001

Brothel owner going into restaurant business

By JIM SCRIPPS

Moundhouse brothel mogul Dennis Hof is taking a chance in a more family- friendly arena.

Hof, owner of the Moonlite Bunnyranch, is purchasing restaurants in Carson City and Moundhouse. He plans to rebuild both with an Italian/Mexican theme, complete with tequila and wine bars.

The Golden Dragon on North Carson Street and Sugars on Highway 50 East in Moundhouse are both in escrow. Hof said the Golden Dragon purchase includes 10,000 square feet of apartments to the rear of the building. Closing prices are not available.

"I came from real estate, so this is not a new venture for me," Hof said. "I wanted to go out into some other things."

Hof said he has been looking at the Carson City and Moundhouse markets for two years waiting for the opportunity to open the restaurants. Although a name is under consideration, Hof said it could not be disclosed before he is granted business licenses.

"I love Northern Nevada and I have been searching for a way to diversify and buy some commercial and residential real estate," he said. "The trend in restaurants is to put a couple themes into one venue. Tequila bars and wine bars are also popular, so it works out."

Hof pointed to the initial success of Carson City's Wagon Wheel restaurant on North Carson Street, where the menu includes both Chinese and Japanese foods.

Hof's plans for both restaurants include a "total remodel," although structural changes will be limited. Menus will offer simple dishes with medium to low prices, compared to other local offerings, he said. The restaurants will not have a commercial connection to his brothel business.

"The variety of restaurants in the area is not adequate," Hof said. "These are going to be upscale facilities with affordable prices."

Hof also plans to purchase 10 area homes in the next year as a way to diversify his holdings.

"Ever since I have been here, there has been a demand for housing," he said.

At the Moonlite Bunnyranch, Hof is waiting for Lyon County commissioners' approval to develop a 4,300 square-foot commercial coach adjacent to the brothel operation. The new building, recommended for approval by the Lyon County Planning Commission earlier this month, is zoned for commercial and administrative purposes only.

Hof has said the building will house a gift shop, doctor's examining room and gym for employee use.



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