LISBON — It’s always been so simple. Ask directions to a place in Lisbon, someone will tell you where it is in relation to Graziano’s Mia Casa Restaurant. When you get to Graziano’s Square, you take a left, bang a right or keep on trucking.
Not anymore. After 42 years at their spot on the corner, Graziano’s is on the move.
“We cut back our hours down to four days a week two years ago, which has made it easier for the family to run it,” said Joe Graziano Jr., whose father opened what was then just a corner bar in 1969. “Times are tough. The building is too big to suit our needs. We’d love to downsize, but that’s not very feasible in this present location.”
Where will they go? No idea. Not yet. Graziano said the buildings and property at Lisbon and Village streets have been put up for sale. They are looking to re-emerge somewhere in Central Maine, but the precise spot has not yet been determined.
“We’d like to make sure our customers remember,” Graziano said, “that we will not be closing during this process and will continue to serve up the fresh, homemade food that we are known for in our unique home until it is time to go.”
In Lisbon, Graziano’s is as much a landmark as it is a destination. For many, it’s the place to go for authentic Italian food, arguably the best to be found outside Boston’s north end.
For Graziano and his family, the spot on the corner has also been home.
“I’m sad to be leaving this place,” Joe said. “I grew up here and made a lot of friends over the years. But I’m very excited at the prospect of starting over and making even more friends.”
He said it is hard to estimate when the move will occur. The Grazianos are still looking for a buyer while also shopping for a new home.
After Joe Sr. opened his bar in 1969, Graziano’s clientele just kept growing. So did the property, as the family bought adjacent buildings and added on where necessary.
Joe Sr. died in 2000, leaving the operation in the hands of his wife and children. Soon after, the town renamed the entire block Graziano’s Square.
It remains to be seen what they will call it once the famed restaurant is gone. Also unknown: How a person can possibly give directions once Lisbon’s most familiar landmark is no longer there.
Interested in buying the Graziano property? Contact Juliana Tonini, of Magnusson Balfour, at 207-774-7715 or [email protected]
More information about Graziano’s Casa Mia at grazianoscasamia.com