LISBON — If you miss Graziano’s chicken Parmesan and lasagna, you may soon be in luck.

Five years after the popular Graziano’s Casa Mia closed its doors, Mary Frances Graziano Richard plans to open her own takeout-only restaurant using a mix of her family’s old recipes and some new, healthier options.

It will be called Grazi To Go.

“A lot of people, a lot of friends, have been asking me to cook meals for them. They’re like, ‘Oh, we miss it!'” Richard said. “It just keeps coming up.”

Joe Graziano Sr., Richard’s father, opened Graziano’s as a bar in Lisbon in 1969. As the clientele grew, so did the property, with the family buying adjacent buildings and adding on where necessary.

Graziano died in 2000, leaving the restaurant in the hands of his wife and children. In recent years it was run by Richard, her brother Joe Graziano Jr. and his wife Robin Graziano.


Although the restaurant was an area favorite for 43 years, expenses were high and the economy was poor. The restaurant closed in March 2012. A year later, the building was razed to make room for Luiggi’s Pizzeria.

Richard, 48, works as a prep cook at Henry and Marty Restaurant in Brunswick. But while she had a new job and Graziano’s was long gone, people never stopped asking her about their favorite dishes. 

She began thinking about a new kind of Graziano’s.  

“I said, well, I’m not doing a restaurant. I don’t want to. I have a young daughter and I want to be home on my nights and weekends. So I said, I can try doing a takeout,” Richard said. “After discussing with my husband, we came up with kind of a game plan and we’re working on details as we go along.”

The idea: A takeout-only place with limited hours and a select menu that changes every day.

“My plan was to put a menu up saying this is what I’m going to make on these days and people order. I get (the meals) all ready, hot or cold, and people pick them up and go home,” she said.


Graziano’s dishes would be in the menu mix, but so would gluten-free, vegetarian and healthy meals.

“I haven’t decided exactly all the items I want to do,” she said.

Richard wants to stay in Lisbon — it’s where she lives and it’s the hometown of Graziano’s — but the site she’d originally wanted proved to be too expensive to fix up. She’s now considering renting a local commercial kitchen, which would allow her to open Grazi To Go while she looks for a more permanent space in town.

Richard launched a GoFundMe campaign this week to raise money for the business. The page has been shared nearly 900 times in two days and she’s raised $1,725 toward her $20,000 goal.    

She hopes to give meal discounts or other offers to people who contribute.

“I’m not looking for free money,” she said. “I’ll definitely find a way to pay these people back in one way or another for their generosity.”


She’s not sure she’ll need the whole $20,000 listed on her GoFundMe page, but she had to name a figure to start with. If the funding gets too high, she said, she’ll shut it down. 

“I don’t need a huge amount of money and I’m not trying to make a million dollars off this … I’m definitely there just to get the basics to start out and I’ll take care of the rest myself,” she said. “Hopefully, people can just enjoy the food and help me that way.” 

Richard hopes to start Grazi To Go in the next couple of months.

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