Iconic Sally’s Apizza in New Haven sold to unnamed buyer; Consiglios to stay on indefinitely
Sally’s Apizza has been sold.
“Yippee!” said Bobby Consiglio, when asked how he felt about the change of owership of the iconic restaurant founded by his father, Salvatore (Sally) Consiglio, in 1938.
First of all, Bobby and his brother Rick Consiglio said they aren’t going anywhere.
They will now be managers, rather than owners, and will be able to go home and fall asleep at night without worrying about the business, Bobby Consiglio, the older brother, said Thursday night.
“It has been a long road. Frivoulous lawsuits held us up for 3 1/2 years — at least,” Bobby Consiglio, 68, said of their efforts to find a buyer, something that started informally going back to 2012.
“We can lock the doors at night and forget about it,” he said.
“And we can go on vacation,” Rick Consiglio said, chiming in at the end of another long day at the restaurant.
“We will both be managing, indefinitely,” Bobby said. “Making sure the place stays the same,” Rick said.
“That is the goal. To make sure nothing changes,” the older brother said.
“I’ll be getting a paycheck,” Bobby said, pleased with that concept.
Bobby and Rick Consiglio, 66, and sister Ruth Consiglio have owned it since the passing of their mother, Florence (Flo) Consiglio, in 2012, but they have worked at the family business all of their lives.
The real estate transaction for the Wooster Street property, where the pizzeria and an adjacent parking lot are located, closed Wednesday for $667,500 to a Pennsylvania LLC.
Who the owner is won’t be announced until January, according to attorney Hugh Keefe, who has represented the Consiglios in the long run-up to the sale, which has had a complicated history.
Bobby Consiglio said they will close for the month of January.
“It is like I just broke the surface — just came up for air. I’m going to take a little rest. Usually we take off in February, but it has been a very stressful 3 1/2 years. We are siblings, so we have been banging heads,” he said.
Bobby said all the staff at the restaurant, many of whom have been with them for years, like Michael Shanahan, will remain on as part of the deal.
“Everybody here is family. These guys are good,” Rick Consiglio said. “We are not going to break up the family.”
Shanahan, when asked how he felt about the sale, said, “If they are happy, I’m happy,” referring to the Consiglios.
How much the sale of the business itself will bring the siblings was not disclosed, but Carmen Capasso offered $3.1 million for the property and business in December 2013.
That deal led to several lawsuits, with two still pending, when the Consiglios failed to sell it to Capasso, although Laurence Parnoff, attorney for Capasso, said his client had followed all the stipulations attached to the sale.
Superior Court Judge Matthew E. Frechette threw out the challenge by Capasso in August 2015, ruling there was no contract in place to be violated.
This year the state Appellate Court agreed and said Parnoff had also failed to argue in his original suit that the Consiglios had acted in bad faith.
That is something Parnoff has done in the current litigation. The Consiglios have countered that Parnoff’s suit was only entered to block any sale of their property.
Land records show the multilevel apartment building in which Sally’s is located, on the first floor at 273 Wooster St., and the parking lot at 245 Wooster St. were purchase by Lineage Properties LLC, a Delaware limited liability company with a Pennsylvania contact address.
Gene Levick, who is listed as the manager of Lineage Properties, is a certified public accountant in Pennsylvania. He said he could not talk about the new owners until next month.
The siblings started to get inquiries on selling the pizzeria with the possibility of franchising Sally’s popular thin-crust tomato pies, after their mother died in 2012. Sal Consiglio died in 1989.
The list of personal property in the estate filing for Flo Consiglio includes the restaurant business, Sally’s Pizza, valued in that document at $1.2 million.
New Haven’s other famous Wooster Street pizzeria — Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana — which is down the street and was started by Sal Consiglio’s uncle, franchised its business years ago and has other restaurants in Connecticut, as well as New York and Massachusetts.
Pepe’s also has tried to purchase Sally’s. In a second round of bidding in 2014 when Capasso submitted his $3,133,000 bid, Pepe’s bid was the second-highest, coming in at $83,000 under Capasso’s. At the end of 2015, a representative of Pepe’s said the purchase of Sally’s was “kind of a dead issue” for them.
The Capasso contract included the inventory, the rights to the Sally’s Apizza name and the equipment, including the coal-fired pizza oven. There were also terms for a seven-year noncompete clause that applied to immediate family members and covered New England, New York and New Jersey.
It was not known whether that was a basic model of the contract with the new owners.
Parnoff, when contacted Thursday, said there are two summary motions in the current Superior Court suits, one by himself and one by the Consiglios.
He said the question of discovery was still open and the Consiglios should be notifying him of the sale.