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Old Lyme — Cherrystones Restaurant, a steady presence on Shore Road for 28 years and a popular spot for everything from local Chamber meetings to weddings and reunions, has been sold.
Jeff Montanaro, who ran the restaurant with his brother Drew and his 90-year-old father Andy Montanaro, said Friday that the new owners bought the restaurant and all its contents and plan to keep it a restaurant.
The Montanaros, of Old Lyme, will continue to own and operate the driving range adjacent to the restaurant, at 218 Shore Road (Route 156).
"It was just time," Jeff Montanaro said of selling the restaurant that his parents Andy and Ginny Montanaro, 88, bought in 1972, when it was still called the 100 Acres Restaurant.
The Montanaros renovated the restaurant and renamed it Cherrystones in 1982. A family business from the very start, four generations of Montanaros worked at the restaurant this past summer.
"My parents are older, and we just wanted someone new to come in and breathe new life into the establishment," Jeff Montanaro said.
When the economy slowed three years ago, the restaurant became a seasonal spot that was closed January through March. Cherrystones never opened this year, as the Montanaros were under contract with the new owners.
Jeff Montanaro said he wasn't sure when the new owners plan to open their new version of the restaurant.
Countless locals can thank Cherrystones for the lasting friendships they developed while working there.
"In fact, this past summer, we had a 20th anniversary at Cherrystones for a couple who met while (working there)," Jeff Montanaro said. "I mean, we're talking a lot of years."