Developer Mark Chason has agreed to buy popular Elmwood Village eatery Pano's Restaurant, with plans to continue operating it under new management after the longtime owner retires.
Chason, whose Chason Affinity Cos. is developing a 40-unit condominium building next door, did not say how much he paid to buy the longtime restaurant at 1081 Elmwood Ave. The sale is expected to close Friday.
But he pledged to continue the full-service casual-dining family restaurant, opened in 1971, under the Pano's name, "with the same general menu with some enhancements," spokesman Brian Gould said by email.
“We are very excited to have purchased the iconic Pano’s Restaurant,” Chason said. “My family and I have enjoyed the restaurant for many years, and we look forward to continuing the long and storied tradition of Pano Georgiadis, one of our city’s finest and most successful restaurateurs.”
Chason said the restaurant will close for about eight weeks for interior renovations, including a new kitchen and "updated decor." After that, it will reopen, with a new experienced management team and executive chef hired by Chason to run the business. The developer is finalizing an operational plan and staff, Gould said.
“Our goal is to have as seamless a transition as possible and provide Pano’s longtime customers and our new patrons a great casual dining experience in an updated and improved landmark restaurant in the Elmwood Village,” said Chason.
The Buffalo News reported in December that the restaurant's 72-year-old owner, Pano Georgiadis, was seeking a buyer after 41 years of operating the business. At the time, he denied rumors that he already had a contract in place, but confirmed that Chason and another local business owner had separately approached him. And he said Chason was very interested in a deal.
“I have known Mark Chason, his family and his team at Chason Affinity for many years, and they are committed to the community and the long-term success and viability of the restaurant,” Georgiadis said. “After 41 years, I look forward to going to Pano’s as a customer.”
The purchase comes as Chason is preparing to start work on construction of the new mixed-use building, which will feature 33 one- and two-story condos and seven walk-up townhouses, all for purchase. The project also will include three first-floor retail spaces and one floor of underground parking. Pano's will be completely separate, Gould said.
Crews from Niagara Falls-based Apollo Dismantling Services recently completed demolition and cleanup work at the site. Construction is expected to begin shortly, with completion planned for spring 2019.