Jim’s Italian Cuisine, a Bellefonte staple since 1952, may be up for sale — but longtime owner Jim Boscaino is still hoping the restaurant isn’t going anywhere.
Boscaino is seeking $450,000 for the 3,002-square-foot restaurant and real estate, according to a realtor’s Friday Facebook post that went viral, sparking dozens of concerned calls to Jim’s. But Boscaino told the Centre Daily Times on Tuesday that he’s been trying to sell for about two years now, and he’d love to find a buyer looking to take over the restaurant, which remains open Tuesday through Saturday.
He even said he’d be happy to stay on, maybe 25-30 hours a week, if new management would want some help early on.
“I don’t know the future but, as far as I’m concerned, as long as I’m alive, there’ll be a Jim’s,” the 65-year-old Boscaino said.
Boscaino’s father, also named Jim, opened the restaurant in 1952. Boscaino started working there in 1978 and took over in 1994. He said the pandemic added a lot of extra stress and, nowadays, as a senior citizen, it’s a lot harder to put in the long hours.
Boscaino said he arrives at 5 a.m. and often works until 9 p.m. Five days a week.
“You just get tired,” Boscaino said. “Everything’s the same every day. It gets old, but it’s your livelihood, so you got to keep doing it.”
Boscaino said he’s not sure what he’ll do, when and if the restaurant sells. He’s not necessarily looking to fly south. At this point, he said, the first thing he would do is “get my rest.” Then he’d like to do some traveling, maybe a cruise around Europe with a stop in Italy, which he last visited in 1979. And then? “Probably become a house-husband,” he said with a smile.
Customers still send Boscaino some family photos of them enjoying his food. Seeing children in high-chairs with spaghetti sauce smeared on their faces and then hearing from them again as adults, that — Boscaino said — keeps him going. That history and those memories are part of the reason he’d like to see Jim’s Italian Cuisine continue on.
He doesn’t know for certain if a future buyer would want to do that. After all, it’s up to them. But Boscaino wants to include all the appliances in the sale, along with recipes and other items. And he’s hoping that’ll provide enough incentive to keep Jim’s Italian Cuisine going.
“I really think there’ll always be a Jim’s,” Boscaino added. “Jim might not be here — but the restaurant will be.”