July 25, 2016

Mostly cloudy

Panini’s to take Tony Roma’s place

BRUNSWICK — The former Tony Roma’s will become a Panini’s Bar and Grill after four partners placed the highest bid at an auction Thursday.

They will pay $1.5 million for the 1.5-acre property at 3520 Center Road, which includes the 5,600-square-foot restaurant, kitchen appliances and the adjacent parking lot.

Panini’s owner Pat Donofrio said after the auction he and the other partners will spend nearly $1 million on renovations, which will include a nearly 3,000-square-foot outdoor patio overlooking Brunswick Lake.

“You’re not going to recognize the place,” Donofrio said.

The renovations are expected to be complete within four months.

He and the other partners were interested in the property because Brunswick is a growing area, he said.

Panini’s has 16 locations throughout the greater Cleveland area and one restaurant in Columbus. Currently, the closest franchise is on Pearl Road in Strongsville.

Along with the Brunswick location, two more restaurants — one at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and the other in the Kamm’s Corners neighborhood in Cleveland — will open by the end of the year, Donofrio said.

The other partners include businessman George Simon and Grant Pinner, vice president of Weinberg Wealth Management of Beachwood. The fourth has not yet been announced.

The owners of three Buffalo Wild Wings franchises also were interested in the Tony Roma’s property and received approval from the city’s Planning Commission to make changes to the building’s exterior had they won the auction.

Contact Allison Wood at (330) 721-4050 or allisonwood@ohio.net.