CHATHAM – After 31 years at New England Pizza, Philip Malitas is branching out.
Malitas and his sister, Sophia Malita, who own the popular West Chatham pizzeria, have an agreement to purchase the Longshore Restaurant at 1077 Main St., just a block to the east and across the road.
“We don't work enough hours!” Malitas quipped last week when discussing taking on a second restaurant. New England Pizza will remain open, under the watchful eye of Malita, while her brother oversees the year-round operation of the former Longshore.
The deal is expected to be finalized in late September or early October. Details were not disclosed, and Malitas said they're still working on the name of the new restaurant.
Long the site of family-style restaurants, Longshore opened in 2012 after the former Marley's Restaurant was purchased by the DeLong family of Eastham.
Roz DeLong said they decided to sell the restaurant due to the declining health of her husband, Robert. She called the Malitas “incredibly hardworking and compassionate” with extensive experience in the restaurant business.
“I think Longshore will be a great site for their new endeavor and I am looking forward to seeing how the family grows their business,” she said in a statement.
The restaurant business, she added, is both “grueling and exhilarating,” but the staff and patrons made it worthwhile.
“It is they that have created and sustained Longshore for the past seven years,” she said. “To each and every one of them, I need to convey my deepest gratitude and love.” She singled out her son Chris, who has been “cook, accountant, maintenance man, scheduler” and more. Caring for her husband will make it difficult to say goodbye to everyone, she added, but said she will be leaving the restaurant “with a most grateful heart.”
Malitas' uncle started New England Pizza with restaurants in Hyannis and Chatham. Malitas and his mother, Andigoni Malita, bought the Chatham restaurant in the late 1980s. Pizza runs deep in their family; their father, Peter, started a pizza restaurant in Worcester in 1958, and the Chatham eatery still uses his pizza recipe.
The Malitas pride themselves on catering to families and have seen several generations come back for the pizza and the “egg machine,” a toy vending machine that's been a mainstay for decades.
“They're like family,” Sophia Malita said of their patrons.
“It's important to us to keep this family-run and for families,” added Malitas, who started working in his family's restaurants when he was 12.
“This is our passion,” he said. The pizzeria employs five to 12 people, depending on the time of year.
Initially they had been considering relocating the pizza restaurant, which recently had its biggest Fourth of July week in 31 years, he said, but decided there was room in town for a second eatery that also caters to families. The new restaurant will feature a mix of offerings, including seafood, Italian dishes, gluton-free items and other family fare, carrying on the tradition of the location as a family-friendly eatery (which goes back to its days as Sea in the Rough). “It's going to be a place where families can go and not spend an arm and a leg,” Malitas said. “A lot of people say we need that in this town.”
Although they are working on securing a full liquor license, Malitas stressed that the new place is “not going to be a sports bar,” despite rumors to the contrary.
They're still working out the operation of the new restaurant; while Philip, a Yarmouth resident, will run the day-to-day operation, and Sophia, who lives in Harwich, will be across the street and down the road, “obviously we'll both help out” at both locations, Sophia said.
“We welcome ideas,” she said.
“We're looking forward to the new challenge,” added her brother.
Email Tim Wood at email@example.com