Pat’s Pizza in Portland’s Old Port, part of a chain of pizzerias with deep roots in Maine, has been sold, according to Chris Tyll, who has owned the restaurant and sports bar at 30 Market St. for the past 10 years.

Tyll would not disclose the identity of the buyers, but said it is a group of people who plan to make a statement early next week about the purchase and a few changes they plan to make in the business. He emphasized that the business will remain Pat’s Pizza.

“They’ve got a ton of great ideas,” Tyll said of the new owners, “and I really hope Portland and our tourists continue to support local places with affordable options.”

Chris Tyll has owned Pat’s Pizza in Portland’s Old Port for 10 years. Melanie Sochan/The Forecaster

Tyll said the restaurant’s last night under his ownership will be Sunday. It will then close briefly so the new owners can reorganize.

Tyll added that he had been planning to close anyway, from Sept. 1 to Nov. 1, to “give the building a rest” after 10 years – Pat’s closes only on Christmas Day – and make some changes to the dining room and bar. He said he did not have the restaurant on the market but decided to sell after meeting the buyers and hearing their ideas.

The restaurant has 14 full-time employees. Tyll said all employees have guaranteed interviews with the new owners. If they do not stay on at Pat’s, Tyll said, he plans to help them set up interviews with other Portland restaurants.

Tyll, who also owns the Easy Day bowling alley and restaurant in South Portland, is on the executive board of Hospitality Maine, the local trade group for restaurants, and has a lot of contacts in the business, he said.

There are 17 Pat’s Pizza locations across the state, each independently owned and operated, Tyll said. Two restaurant groups own multiple locations, he said. The original Pat’s was started by Pat Farnsworth in Orono in 1931. It began as an ice cream parlor and evolved into a lunch counter and then a hamburger joint.

“Maine needs brands like Pat’s Pizza,” Tyll said. “Pat was the second guy in Maine to start making pizza. Angelone’s was the first.”

Farnsworth learned how to make pan-cooked, thin crust pizza from Angelone’s, Tyll said, and then turned Pat’s into a pizza parlor in the early 1950s. Farnsworth died in 2003 at the age of 93.

Tyll noted that Pat’s Pizza in the Old Port still makes its dough and sauce from scratch every day. “We hand grind the cheese,” he said. “There’s other places in the state that cook frozen dough balls.”


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