NORFOLK — Sabad’s Restaurant, 81 W. Main St., has new owners who hope to keep the same cozy, community-oriented feel and first-rate fare.
Co-owners Laura S. Garnero and William D. O’Bryan made a natural leap from working at restaurants in the area to now owning one.
They both attended SUNY Potsdam, and both worked at McDuff’s for a spell before decamping to Vermont in pursuit of other culinary opportunities. There, the pair worked at Worthy Burger in Woodstock, where Ms. Garnero worked front-of-house and Mr. O’Bryan managed the kitchen.
That’s the arrangement they intend to keep at Sabad’s, which they purchased this month and left Vermont to reopen.
“Worthy Burger was a wonderful restaurant, and we loved the people we worked with, but we heard of this opportunity and decided to come back,” Ms. Garnero said. “I think that me and Will make a really good team, and having something of our own is really incredible.”
The previous owners, Tony and Kathy Hadzovic, who bought the restaurant in 1998, announced via Facebook last October that they were closing temporarily. It’s remained dormant ever since, and on May 5, they announced the passing of the torch.
Ms. Garnero and Mr. O’Bryan had always been attracted to Sabad’s, and decided it was the kind of restaurant they would want to own.
“I went to Sabad’s a good number of times before moving away, and I always thought the food was great, but what drew me in was the atmosphere,” Mr. O’Bryan said. “Its high-quality cuisine, high-quality service, and community feel was really valuable to us. And I thought if I could ever get a place, it would be just like Sabad’s.”
Ms. Garnero and Mr. O’Bryan plan to preserve the qualities they say make Sabad’s soulful and endearing. And don’t worry, they’re keeping the famous garlic knots, salad and cabbage noodles that come out with every meal, too.
They are, however, changing some of the menu to better reflect their personalities and philosophy.
“As far as the entrees and appetizers, there will definitely be some changes,” Mr. O’Bryan said.
They are sticking loosely with an Italian-American and European theme, and Mr. O’Bryan said diners can expect such items as chicken piccata, marsala, shrimp fra diavolo, calamari and mussels.
“We’re confident that whatever we put out to the customer will be quality,” Ms. Garnero said.
She also wants to jazz up the bar.
“I am pretty passionate about curating cocktails, so that’s something I’m hoping the community will appreciate,” she said.
Right now, they are focused on finding staff, but hope to open sometime in June.
“We’re excited to get to know all the customers that have come in the past and that will come in the future,” they said. “Hopefully we can give everyone a good experience from the time they enter to the time they leave.”
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