Jackie Cummings, left, and Holly Frederick, right, look on as Kerry Page removes a pizza from the oven at JJ’s Wood-Fired Pizza in Franklin. The restaurant hopes to offer keno “sooner rather than later” after voters agreed to allow the game during Tuesday’s ballot vote. (Tom Caldwell/Laconia Daily Sun)
By THOMAS P. CALDWELL, LACONIA DAILY SUN
FRANKLIN — Holly Frederick, manager of JJ’s Wood-Fired Pizza in West Franklin, said offering keno would be another way for JJ’s to distinguish itself from other restaurants in the city.
JJ’s is the only restaurant in Franklin that has a wood-fired oven, and that makes it unique, but Frederick said they also got on the New Hampshire Lottery Commission list of businesses hoping to offer keno games. With Franklin voters having given the go-ahead for keno in Tuesday’s elections, Frederick said they will be moving forward to make it happen.
“We’re at the beginning stages,” she said, “but we want to get it in place sooner rather than later.”
In addition to pizza, JJ’s offers a “Boston Italian” menu that includes chicken parmesan, antipasto salad, steak, sweet potato fries, and Boars Head cold cuts that Frederick maintains makes the restaurant “a standout.”
The restaurant sees keno as another exciting way to increase business.
The Lottery Commission has identified eight businesses in Franklin that qualify to offer keno, but Maura McCann, who does marketing for the commission, said there are no signed contracts yet.
“We reached out to them as part of our recruitment efforts,” McCann said. “It started with informational postcards to eligible businesses across New Hampshire, and once the vote does start, we reach out to businesses. We have found there is some interest, but they need to get their shareholders to agree.”
Manchester previously voted to allow keno, and McCann said Kim Balles of Club Manchvegas and Club Canadian, as well as Billy LaBarge of Billy’s Sports Bar and Grill, have signed up.
Only businesses with pouring licenses from the New Hampshire Liquor Commission are eligible to offer keno, which is a game much like bingo. Players bet on numbers which are electronically drawn every five minutes, and winnings depend upon how many winning numbers are picked. Businesses can offer keno only in bar areas where patrons under 21 are not allowed.
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