Mario’s Restaurant in East Setauket Said to Be Sold; New Name and New Ownership Forthcoming

After suddenly closing down at the beginning of the year, the rumor mill is churning and a couple of sources have confirmed that Mario’s restaurant in East Setauket has changed hands, or will be soon.

Back in 1979, brothers Jack and Gary Tipley opened up Mario’s and eventually purchased the shopping center where the popular restaurant was located. In 2007, the Tipleys sold the restaurant business to the same owners who ran Branchinelli’s pizza but took it back from them in 2020 after a major fire.

It’s complicated.

Then, almost four years later at the beginning of this year, the restaurant closed again, this time it seems for good. Two sources have confirmed that the landlords (and former founders of Mario’s) are in talks to sell the restaurant to new unnamed owners.

“Mario’s was sold to someone who will be opening something else,” a source connected to Mario’s Restaurant said via Instagram. “It will not be Mario’s anymore.”

The person contacted said that they had no knowledge of the deal or who was involved, just that the restaurant “will not be called Mario’s anymore.”

Another source confirmed that an ownership change is forthcoming.

“It sounds like there are a couple of operators who are currently negotiating with the landlord about opening a new restaurant there,” they told by email on Monday.

Changes are coming to this particular corridor of East Setauket on Main Street. Elaine’s – owned by former Pentimento general manager Elaine Micali – is set to open April 4th and a new Mexican cuisine spot called Ixchel just opened in the former Old Fields Tavern space.

We will update this story as more information becomes available.

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