November 27, 2021

Property possibilities

Potential buyers interested in former Red Dragon

Colin Spencer/staff reporter

Cars drive by the former Red Dragon restaurant in Cortland on Wednesday. Potential buyers have expressed interest in purchasing the property, which closed last year after being open for 50 years.

Potential buyers have expressed interest in buying what was a 50-year tradition in Cortland, but a little roof work needs to be completed, its owner said Wednesday.

Angelo “Butch” Maniccia, who owns the former Red Dragon restaurant on Tompkins Street, said several people have contacted him expressing interest in purchasing and revitalizing the property at 222 Tompkins St., including one restaurant owner who wants to meet with Maniccia, but declined to give further details.

“At this point, I’m just interested to see who is interested in purchasing the property,” he said.

The restaurant closed in August, after 50 years in business, as Maniccia and his wife, Sue-Ellen, were the only staff and struggled hiring help during the pandemic, Butch Maniccia said.

He also said he is waiting to hear back from a repair business in Syracuse for work after a severe windstorm in the fall damaged the roof.

The restaurant started on North Main Street in 1970, but moved to Tompkins Street in 1975 after the city took advantage of federal urban renewal funding to develop downtown Cortland, Butch Maniccia said in July.

The restaurant was a favorite spot for college students before the drinking age was changed to 21 in 1985.

From there, it became more family oriented. It often played host to the annual Bean Pickers Reunion, a gathering of local and migrant farm workers who would spend their summers in the greater Cortland area, picking beans for canning companies based in Cortland, such as the Halstead Canning Co. and the David Harum Canning Co., in the 1930s and 40s.

Today, Steve Cinquanti, an associate broker with Yaman Commercial Industrial, said a potential buyer could purchase and revitalize the former restaurant and keep the name, though that would be big shoes to fill.

“But they can do whatever they want,” he said.

Beyond a restaurant, Cinquanti said the property could be good for a myriad of professional offices including a dentist, accounting or doctor’s office as it has plenty of parking in an attached lot.

“It would make a great professional office,” he said.