New Owners Rejuvenate West Side Landmark Restaurant
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Raphe Neapolitan and Matt Savon were sitting in an unevenly lit restaurant. Natural light from the large windows illuminated the tables and a row of booths.
As the pair dined at The Landmark Restaurant & Bakery on Meridian Road in Youngstown last year, they overheard a conversation: the restaurant was going up for sale.
They jumped on the opportunity to get back into the food service industry and on Thursday, Neapolitan and Savon celebrated the ribbon cutting on their ownership of the West Side staple.
“We obviously wanted to keep it going. It’s been part of the neighborhood for a long time,” Neapolitan said. “With that there’s some anxiety, obviously. People have been coming here for 20 years.”
The new owners were born and raised in Youngstown. Neapolitan is a graduate of Cardinal Mooney High School while Savon graduated from Ursuline High School. The duo officially took over the restaurant in November after several months of talks with the former owners.
Neapolitan and Savon wanted to keep the menu favorites while putting their own spin on the business.
“The first thing we wanted to do was keep the breakfast the same, consistent,” Neapolitan said. “We upgraded a few of the options – maybe some fresher ingredients and added a few different spins on things. But the breakfast is what the place is known for and we didn’t want to mess with that.”
“We didn’t have the doughnuts when we first took over. There was a big, big request for that,” Savon said.
The next item on the agenda was to resume being open seven days a week. Previously, the diner had closed on Mondays due to COVID-19.
The Landmark Restaurant has about a dozen employees, but the new ownership is looking to hire more to help manage an expanding menu.
The owners want to increase the hours of operation from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The Landmark Restaurant is currently open until 2 p.m. The new hours will mean new options, and the addition of a deli-style menu is in the works.
“Corned beef sandwiches, pastrami sandwiches, soups, salads … kind of a diner-theme still,” Neapolitan said. “We want to try to extend our hours and try to get some lunch options in here.”
It isn’t Neapolitan and Savon’s first venture as business owners. The two own Common Grounds Coffee Shop in Cleveland. They also owned a craft beer bar in Cleveland, but sold it a couple years ago.
Thursday’s ribbon cutting came less than two months after the closing of The Landmark Restaurant location in Boardman, which had been in business for 18 years. That site was purchased by Combine Bros. and is being renovated.
Savon said their eatery has seen a slight uptick as regulars of the Boardman restaurant try to fill the void.
“There’s been a ton of support from the community,” Savon said. “Things have been going really well.”
Neapolitan said the goal is to continue the tradition of the previous owners. But he and Savon also want to potentially bring a version of The Landmark & Bakery to the Boardman area if the success continues.
“Try to expand locally,” Neapolitan said. “Maybe add a few more locations locally around here.”
Pictured: Raphe Neapolitan and Matt Savon purchased The Landmark Restaurant in November.
Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.