Papa’s Food and Drink, a popular family restaurant located off Roosevelt Trail in Windham and best known for its fried clams and prime rib, has closed.

Casa Novello, an Italian restaurant based in Westbrook, is replacing Papa’s, which was open for two years.

“We had a wonderful two years,” said Papa’s owner, Betty Buck. “We just enjoyed the people. They were wonderful customers. Being from Windham, we knew a lot of them. They’re just great people.”

Buck said the atmosphere at Papa’s is what made it a great place to dine and that she has a lot of fond memories working there, but she felt that it was time to retire.

“It was like an open house every day,” she said. “We felt as though we accomplished what we set out to do. As things turned out, Casa Novello was looking for another location and the timing was perfect.”

And Buck isn’t upset that a new chain is replacing her business. In fact, she said the owners of Casa Novello will do a wonderful job in Windham.

Niki Thibodeau, co-owner and manager of Casa Novello, said she is very eager to be adding a restaurant in Windham because she is from the area and her son attends school here.

“We have a wonderful following,” Thibodeau said. “We’re excited to continue that reputation in Windham and for the people of Windham and area towns to come and have a neighborhood experience.”

Thibodeau and her partner, Gary Manoogian, started Casa Novello in 1999. They plan to make some changes at the Windham restaurant by adding more seats, expanding the Raymond side of the building and creating a larger parking lot.

Casa Novello, specializing in chicken marsala, chicken parmesan and homemade pizzas, will open in October.

As for Betty Buck, she has no definite plans for her retirement, but said she had a great experience running her restaurant in Windham.

“I just want to offer a big ‘thank you’ to all of our patrons,” she said.

After two years as a popular restaurant in Windham, Papa’s Food & Drink Inc. is shutting its doors and will reopen in October as a new branch of Casa Novello, an Italian restaurant based in Westbrook. e at our restaurant,

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