Erie PA Eatery Dominick’s Diner For Sale: Here’s What We Know

It’s already arrived.

Six years ago, Tony and Tina Ferraro purchased the historic Dominick’s restaurant, 123 E. 12th. St., and saved it from closing. Now they need it to save themselves.

At this point, the business is mortgaged, the land it sits on is mortgaged, as is the Erie house they live in, Tina Ferraro said in March.

“We were so far behind, we owed it all to everyone,” Tina Ferraro said then, as she and her husband considered closing due to lack of staff and business. “Even our house is involved in this.”

Four months ago:Is Dominick closing? Owners of downtown Erie fixture can’t make ends meet

Despite a marked increase in sales and strong staffing, they decided to put the restaurant up for sale this week, asking $375,000 for the turnkey operation, including the business, the building, which includes a large apartment , and the land on which it is located. on. Find the announcement on bit.ly/dominickslisting.

Health problems and debts are the reason

“I have health issues and Tony has a full-time business outside of the restaurant,” which is Ferraro Stump Grinding & Skid Steer Services, Tina Ferraro said Tuesday. “It’s just time for us.”

“We agree with the decision,” she said.

She said the income issues that plagued them after COVID restrictions eased and the business, started in 1956, is strong. Now their problem is debt.

“Sales are better,” said Tina Ferraro. “We’re just struggling to catch up.”

In March, Tina quit her job as a case manager to work at the restaurant full time.

“I’ve been at the restaurant full time for a few months,” she said. “And I’ve been able to make some positive changes, but I can’t make the money magically appear.”

Restaurant news:Dominick’s Diner in Erie is slashing hours due to restaurant staffing shortages

Dominick's restaurant owners, Tony Ferraro, and his wife, Tina Ferraro, have put Dominick's up for sale.

A turnkey operation

She said a new owner wouldn’t have that baggage.

“If someone comes along, they’ll have a fresh start and not all that muddy water to get through,” Tina Ferraro said.

“Actually, if we started now, we’d be in a pretty good position and have more longevity. But the last two and a half years haven’t been kind,” Tina Ferraro said.

She said she hopes the buyer decides to keep Dominick’s name, menu and recipes, but that’s not a condition of sale.

“They can do whatever they want, obviously,” she said. “And we will be their greatest cheerleader.”

Realtor Courtney Thieman of Coldwell Banker Select Realtor is representing the commercial property, which was officially listed on Friday. Things were quiet over the weekend, she said, but after the Ferraros put it on Dominick’s Facebook page on Monday, “it kind of exploded.”

“I’ve seen some interest over the past 24 hours,” Thieman said. “A person I spoke to would keep it at Dominick’s, so that’s good.”

The Ferraros say they’ve been able to keep the restaurant open this long thanks to COVID-era measures called “PPP loans” totaling $72,000, designed to help cover payroll, according to Small Business Administration records. The restaurant was among nearly 3,000 businesses in the county that received loans ranging from $300 to more than $5 million, all intended to protect jobs. The Ferraros requested and received a discount for both loans, Tina Ferarro said.

Owners Tina and Tony Ferraro put Dominick's Diner, 123 E. 12th St., up for sale this week.

Thieman said a lot of people thought the property was just the restaurant, but it’s more.

“I think it has a lot to offer that people don’t realize, including an upstairs apartment that could be income,” she said. “And more than that, the fact that it’s a historic landmark, almost 70 years old. I remember going there when I was a kid. And they were on that show (Discovery Channel) and did a lot of updates. It’s so nice to look inside.”

Thieman said she doesn’t think it will take long to sell the property.

“We just need to find the right person, but I think there’s someone out there.”

Contact Jennie Geisler at [email protected] or at 814-870-1885.

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