Palio Ristorante was quick out of the gate: Newsday's Peter Gianotti gave it three stars when it opened in October 2008. Six months later it made local-restaurant history by giving away free dinners to hundreds of diners.
But now it seems headed for the glue factory. The restaurant hasn’t been open for business since Saturday, March 13. Owner Tom Graziano said that it was closed for vacation but wouldn’t say when it would reopen. (In our experience, this usually means "never.")
Palio has struggled to find an audience since it opened. Initially, executive chef Massimo Fedozzi was serving some of Long Island’s most modern and creative Italian food in one of its most attractive and comfortable dining rooms, but as the economy went into free-fall, Palio began to retool.
In April 2009, Graziano took the unprecedented step of offering two nights of free dinners to attract new customers. Then the regular menu prices came down. Then, for two weeks in August, Palio cut its food and wine prices by 50 percent.
In September, the restaurant rolled out a new, more moderately priced menu but that didn't seem to do the trick either.
Last month, Graziano said that he was entertaining offers for the restaurant. In late February, Fedozzi resigned. The building that houses Palio is also for sale, according to the “for sale” sign erected a few weeks ago. It looks like it's time to say adio.
Newsday photo / Erica Marcus