After a Month, Landmark Restaurant Already a Community Staple

LIBERTY, Ohio — Walking into the Landmark Restaurant and Bakery, the aroma of baked goods and breakfast foods immediately floods the air.

Located at 1472 Churchill-Hubbard Road, the restaurant has already lived up to its namesake in the month it has been open.

“It’s amazing. Absolutely incredible. We see the same faces day in and day out,” said Matt Savon, co-owner of both the new Liberty location as well as the Meridian Road spot in Youngstown. Officials from surrounding communities have dropped by, and first responders stop in often. “Every part of this community has been awesome,” he said.

Residents, elected officials and first responders from Liberty and surrounding communities are some of the regulars Savon sees in the restaurant since its soft opening earlier this month. Some of those individuals joined Savon, co-owners Raphe Neapolitan and General Manager Brian Berendt, and their friends and family for a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday morning.

On hand for the ribbon-cutting at The Landmark in Liberty were Liberty Township patrolman Kenny Griffin, township trustees Devon Stanley and Arnie Clebone, co-owners Raphe Neapolitan, General Manager Brian Berendt and Matt Savon, Eric Sewell, school resource officer for Liberty Schools, and state Sen. Sandra O’Brien, R-32.

The Landmark in Liberty came to be after Berendt came across the empty building on Churchill-Hubbard Road. 

“The building was for sale for a while. Nobody wanted it and it went up for auction” last year, Neapolitan said. After purchasing it for about $100,000, another $60,000 was needed to renovate the space.

The Landmark in Liberty shouldn’t be confused with the former location in Boardman, Savon explained.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the owners of the restaurant at 7412 Market St. were looking to retire. Savon and Neapolitan were interested in purchasing both the Boardman and Youngstown locations, they said. However, in January 2021, Combine Brothers purchased the Boardman space.

The Meridian Road restaurant has been there for 20 years, but Savon and Neapolitan have owned it for a little more than one year, Savon said. A lot of the work has been made possible not only from community support, but from Berendt. In March 2021, the owners cut the ribbon on that location and returned the restaurant’s popular doughnuts to its baked goods case.

Savon calls Berendt “the face of the Landmark,” saying people go to restaurants oftentimes because of the cook or chef. That’s the case with the Landmark. “People know when he’s there,” Savon said.

Berendt has worked with all the staff – about 15 at Youngstown and 10 in Liberty – to ensure customers have a great experience, Savon said. “We’re obsessed with the quality and cleanliness. Brian made sure everyone is doing the same thing in the kitchen, even when he’s not there,” Savon said.

In addition to the mouth-watering smells, the Liberty Landmark feels like it has been a community staple forever.

Decorated with local posters celebrating Idora Park and other local landmarks, there is a steady flow of people already with their regular orders, greeted by servers.

“What helps us locally, we have a lot of help from the community,” Savon said.

The Landmark in Liberty is closed on Mondays and hours are shortened. Once more people are hired, hours can be expanded.

“It shows the community support we’ve received thus far, how willing everyone is to help us out and spread the word we’re here” that means a lot to the Landmark team, Savon said.

Pictured: Standing behind the doughnut case at The Landmark in Liberty are longtime friends and co-owners Matt Savon and Raphe Neapolitan.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.