January 27, 2017

DiSanto’s Restaurant on the Market but Open for Business by Elizabeth Richards

When Anna DiSanto purchased her restaurant in May of 2007, she had a ten-year plan. The end of that timeline is quickly approaching, and DiSanto is ready to focus on other ventures, so DiSanto’s Restaurant, located at 322 West Gray Road in Gray, is on the market.  

The property is listed with Getty Real Estate Services, and DiSanto, who has also been working in real estate for more than ten years, is the listing broker. “I don’t think there’s anyone else who can sell something better than the owner,” said DiSanto. “I know this place inside and out.” 

DiSanto's Restaurant is for sale but continue to operate as usual
The restaurant is listed at $585,000 and is a turnkey operation. DiSanto said the restaurant is popular year-round and has 140 seats, two dining rooms, a bar and lounge, and a large commercial kitchen. The property also has an office, full basement, electronic sign and 100+ car paved parking area.
The freestanding building is on a main road, just three miles from both Exit #63 in Gray and from the center of Windham. The location is a benefit, she said, because it is en route to residential areas, commercial areas and recreational activities in the Sebago Lake region. 

“The highest and best use for this property would be a restaurant but the possibilities are endless here,” said DiSanto. She said she’d love to see it continue to operate as a restaurant, but clearly it would be up to the buyer coming in to do what they wanted. The property has had a restaurant on it since the 1950s, and was expanded in 1976 as the Town Lyne restaurant. 

Since purchasing the property, DiSanto said, she has put over $150,000 into the restaurant to make it what it is now. “We have done a lot of work to this restaurant, so it’s ready,” she said.
DiSanto said she has a loyal staff that has been built over time. She intends to continue operating the restaurant until she finds a buyer for the property. “I will continue on and operate it just like it was the first day of the restaurant,” she said. “I owe that to my customers. I owe that to my employees. It’s business as usual!”

DiSanto’s grandparents opened a restaurant in 1957, and she has early memories of being in the kitchen with her grandmother; watching her make cavatelli and feeling the flour from the dough being rolled, spurting in her face. In 1980 she began working at the family business full time, and has been in the industry ever since.  She eventually decided to venture out on her own because she knew the business so well, and was confident that she could be successful. 

She also knew the amount of dedication she would need to have. “I knew what I was going to have to give to create a good restaurant,” she said. “Working in the restaurant business is certainly not a nine-to-five job. It is seven days a week, it’s weekends and it is holidays,” she said. Despite the long hours, sometimes as many as 70 per week, DiSanto said, “It will be bittersweet when I finally do sell because I’ve been doing this my whole life.”

There are certain ingredients you need to succeed in the restaurant business, DiSanto said, including being a people person and understanding that the restaurant industry is a marathon, not a sprint. “Building a business takes time. It’s important to balance your work and personal life and to be truly successful you must love what you do,” she added. 

She also has some advice for new owners. “Take educated risks. Hire slowly and create a family friendly environment where employees can work and still have fun. You must be prepared to remain focused as well as work long hours including weekends and holidays – it’s part of the business,” she said.

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