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Local developer buys Pano's Restaurant, will keep it open under same name

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A popular Elmwood Avenue restaurant is now under new ownership. Pano's Restaurant has been sold to local developer Chason Affinity Companies, which plans to keep the iconic eatery open under its familiar name.

Upon formal completion of the sale on Friday, Pano's will close for approximately eight week for interior renovations, including a new kitchen and updated decor. When it reopens under new management, it will keep the Pano's name. The sale price was not disclosed.

In a statement, longtime owner Pano Georgiadis says he is confident the developer is committed to the long-term success and viability of the restaurant he has owned for more than four decades.

“After 41 years, I look forward to going to Pano’s as a customer,” Georgiadis said. “Every time the phone rings in the middle of the night, guess who it is? The restaurant, or security, or the police are having a problem. I’m tired. I opened in 1977 in January, the day of the blizzard. That (was) my first day in business. And after 41 years, I think it’s enough. It’s time for me to retire."

The two-story restaurant, at 1081 Elmwood Avenue, is located directly adjacent to Chason Affinity's condominium project site at the corner of Elmwood and Forest avenues. Demolition and cleanup work were recently completed, according to the company.

“Our goal is to have as seamless a transition as possible and provide Pano’s long-time customers and our new patrons a great casual dining experience in an updated and improved landmark restaurant in the Elmwood Village,” said company president Mark Chason, in statement.

Chason will have an executive chef look over a new management team. Georgiadis said they are not familiar with the restaurant business, so they are bringing in someone who is.

“They hope that this guy is going to do the job. How well is he going to do the job? I don’t know," said Georgiadis. "I hope he does it well. I hope he spends the time that I spent and devoted and loves this business like I did. Because if you don’t love this business and you are not ready to work you are going to be out.”

Anyone who has ever worked for a family operated restaurant business knows the amount of hours it takes to run. You are almost always on call.

"A lot of people tell you it’s a lot of work but it’s not," said Georgiadis. "It’s more than just work. It takes a lot of mental punishment. You get exhausted after so many years.”

Georgiadis employed many college students. Seeing them grow is something he will miss.

“Over the years, there were hundreds and hundreds of people that worked for me," said Georgiadis. "To be honest I don’t remember every one of them. But pretty much all of them have had (a) good experience. They all come back and say hello. I’m going to miss that. People come in every two to three years. They give you a hug and say thank you."

Monday - Friday, 10 a.m.. - 2 p.m.
Nick Lippa leads our Arts & Culture Coverage, and is also the lead reporter for the station's Mental Health Initiative, profiling the struggles and triumphs of those who battle mental health issues and the related stigma that can come from it.