STEVENSVILLE — Santaniello’s Glenlord Restaurant has a new look and new owners.
Raffaele Santaniello and Rosanna Santaniello are nearly finished with renovations to extend the bar and add seating to the dining area.
The brother and sister duo took 1,000 square feet from the building’s banquet space and added high-top tables, and an addition to the bar to allow more customers to order drinks.
“We decided to do this after watching our customers walk in to see no available seats at the bar and walk out,” Raffaele said.
The Santaniellos bought the popular restaurant and bar a couple months ago from their mother, who opened the eatery more than 50 years ago with their father. Located at 2262 W. Glenlord Road in Stevensville, Santaniello’s opened in 1967.
Despite refurbishing a third of the banquet hall’s space, Raffaele said they will still be able to host parties of up to 175 people.
The new granite bar and tables add 55 seats to the indoor space.
Work began in January, a couple weeks before the siblings closed on the sale. Their mother had been considering selling the restaurant off and on for the past three years. Those talks didn’t become serious until this fall.
“I think she was just ready to vacation and spend time with her grandchildren,” Raffaele said.
Rosanna said customers became so curious about the renovations that they could no longer keep it a secret during the winter.
“We were so excited about it, but we have such great regulars who wanted a peak,” Rosanna said. “We knew we wanted change because it needed updating. We wanted to go bigger.”
The Santaniellos said there hadn’t been any work done in a decade since the carpet was replaced.
The renovations are nearly done, as they still have to paint some doors, install sound panels and finish an outdoor patio for summer seating. Raffaele said they plan on adding kitchen equipment to make up for the influx of seating/food orders.
The restaurant still has its traditional dining area in the front, but the back area – just before the banquet area – has a more modern look.
The additions include adding several flat-screen televisions along the walls – bringing the total number to 16.
The idea for everything began one night when Raffaele was sharing a drink with friends and began drawing the future layout for the restaurant on a napkin.
“I did that when we found out our mother was interested in selling it to us,” Raffaele said. “It was in crayon, too.”
Rosanna said the response has been overwhelming from customers and other business owners.
“We’re good friends with quite a few family-owned restaurants around here and it’s nice to hear compliments from them,” she said. “The feedback has been great.”
In addition to new paint, the Santaniellos installed slider doors and added a garage door that will lead to the patio once it’s completed.
The outdoor seating will be accompanied by a fire pit and corn hole setup toward the restaurant’s entryway. Raffaele said it’s meant to be a place to sit for those waiting on orders.
He said takeout has become a major piece of their business. According to Raffaele, they begin making pizzas when they open Friday and continue to do so through the night.
The Santaniellos are also in the process of buying property nearby to add parking for the restaurant. If they are able to complete the purchase, it will be used for overflow parking.
The restaurant is planning a grand reopening on May 23, where there will be drink deals and giveaways.
The Santaniellos said they plan to open the restaurant earlier on Sundays to catch the crowd that watches NFL games. But those changes won’t take effect until the beginning of the football season to give the staff enough time to get used to the new space.
“I still just feel like it’s not real yet,” Raffaele said. “I think you need to make changes. You need to keep things fresh.”
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