Sitting on an old wooden chair Monday afternoon in what used to be the main dining room of Lattanzi’s restaurant in Edgartown, chef and owner Albert Lattanzi spoke fondly of his life as an Italian restaurateur.
Some of his favorite memories were spent “hanging out and sipping cognac” with a variety of celebrities, politicians, dignitaries and friends, he said.
“We spent 20 years here, and while the restaurant business is a lot of fun, we have poured a lot of blood sweat and tears into this place,” Mr. Lattanzi told The Times. “And it’s worked out wonderfully. But it’s time to move on.”
Last month, Mr. Lattanzi and his wife, Cathy, sold their popular family-owned restaurant and building for $1.75 million to Island Realty Trust, an Edgartown real estate investment company.
John Roberts III, owner of Island Food Products and a trustee of Island Realty Trust, discussed the terms of the buyout with The Times Tuesday. “We are very excited to own a great piece of real estate in downtown Edgartown,” he said. “It has a great tradition, and our hope is to invest in the renovations along with another restaurateur who will lease the business from us.”
That restaurateur, Peter Sullo, is the co-owner of Rocco’s Pizza in Vineyard Haven. Improvements to the restaurant will include renovations to the kitchen and dining room. The exterior will remain the same. “Our hope is to be open by early spring,” Mr. Roberts said.
The sale, Mr. Lattanzi said, came as a surprise to many.
Edgartown selectmen paused Monday before taking any action to transfer the restaurant’s year-round liquor license to the restaurant’s new owners.
At the Edgartown selectmen meeting Monday, selectmen approved a request from Lattanzi’s restaurant to close.
“There’s been some confusion,” town administrator Pamela Dolby told selectmen. “The confusion comes in because the business has been sold and there’s still a liquor license. But there’s no lease.”
Selectmen postponed action on the license until next week to sort through some of the details.
Mr. Lattanzi, who will be 54 next year, said he has big plans for the future.
One of the first orders of business will be the local wild food challenge, an international competition that’s held yearly in Finland, the French Alps, and Hawaii beginning this year.
“The way culinary arts has been portrayed on TV sometimes is not very flattering,” Mr. Lattanzi said. “This project is more like a documentary and we’re going to make that project grow.”
He said he also wants to break into the world of all things cheese by starting a “cheese lab” at Morning Glory Farm.
He said he will always cherish his time as a restaurant owner in Edgartown.
“We did it to hang out with the Vineyard people and to become part of the community and to stay a part of the community,” he said.
Mr. Lattanzi began selling a variety of glassware, pizza stands, and other dining room knickknacks at the restaurant on Tuesday. He will continue until it is all sold.