[caption id="attachment_211512" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Nicola Pizza on 71 Rehoboth Avenue sold for $2.4 million, but the Delaware pizza chain will stay there until construction on its new location is complete. | DBT PHOTO BY KATIE TABELING[/caption]
REHOBOTH BEACH — Nicola Pizza has sold its two locations in downtown Rehoboth Beach for a combined $4 million to the family that owns several downtown businesses including the iconic Gus & Gus Place fast food shop on the boardwalk. Nicola Pizza hopes to move into a newly-constructed restaurant off Route 1 by next summer.Trahos Capital Investments LLC, of Falls Church, Va., bought 71 Rehoboth Ave. for $2.4 million and 8 N. First St. for $1.6 million, as of April 5, according to Sussex County land records. Virginia corporation records list Dr. Michael Trahos as the registered agent. “Our family is honored to be the next owners and custodians of the iconic and much beloved Nicola properties,” Trahos told the Delaware Business Times in an email. “When the day comes that the Caggiano family moves Nicola Pizza to their new location, we look forward to bringing two new restaurants to the ocean block of Rehoboth Avenue and N. 1st St. that will both be a great fit in the Rehoboth community and the source of many cherished memories for beach goers in the years to come.”There are several Delaware limited liability corporations registered with the Trahos name — Trahos Enterprises I, II, III and IV — which own property in downtown Rehoboth, like the Gus & Gus food stand on the corner of Wilmington and the Boardwalk and Dave & Skippy’s sandwich outpost next door. All Trahos Enterprises share their legal addresses withCSC in Wilmington.Trahos is the nephew of Constantine “Gus” Svolis, who opened Gus & Gus Place in 1956. Svolis passed in October 2020. He confirmed that he and his family owns several properties on the Boardwalk, Rehoboth Avenue, Wilmington Avenue and 1st Street. That includes Starkey's Ice Cream, Tidal Rave's 5&10, The Funnel Cake Factory, Zogg's Raw Bar & Grill, The Hotel Carlton Building, Royal Market and Blackwall Hitch. “Our family has been a part of the Rehoboth Beach community since we first purchased property in the city after the Great Depression over 80 years ago,” Trahos added. “We continue to remain deeply committed to Rehoboth Beach and believe it truly is one of the most charming beach resort towns on the East Coast.”After 50 years in business, Nicola Pizza owner Nick Caggiano Sr. announced that the pizza restaurant would leave behind both locations and relocate to Ocean One Plaza in Lewes, consolidating the restaurant with his other ventures along Route 1. He cited parking and the need for office space as the reason Nicola Pizza was leaving downtown Rehoboth.Caggiano Sr. and his wife first opened Nicola Pizza on 8 N. First St. on June 11, 1971, and later expanded to Rehoboth Avenue years later. Later on, Caggiano bought property in other Delaware beaches and leased it out to notable restaurants like Mancini's Brick Oven Pizzeria and Restaurantin Fenwick Island, and The Blue Crab, 14 Global,Patsy's Restaurant, and DiFebo’s in Bethany Beach.The decision to sell the property rather than lease it out directly was both business and personal, Caggiano Sr. told the Delaware Business Times.“When we move, it will be tough because of all the memories, and I’m not sure if I want to see what will happen next to the buildings. We’re also a very hands-on company, and very meticulous, but I don’t think I want to do that with something that used to be Nicola,” Caggiano Sr. said. “We figure we should get out and let bygones be bygones.”Caggiano Sr. said he did not know what would happen to 71 Rehoboth Ave. and 8 N. First St., but that it would “make sense to remain a pizza restaurant.” Terms of the sale include provisions for Nicola Pizza to rent to Trahos Capital Investments, starting on May 1 for the Rehoboth Ave. location and in September 2022 for N. First Street. Meanwhile, Nicola Pizza is also looking ahead to its new home. The Sussex County Council previously approved plans for a 9,640-square-foot, two-story restaurant with a 1,726-square-foot covered deck and 144 parking spaces on a lot near Five Points along Route 1. Demolition started on a nearby storage facility to make room for Nicola Pizza in February.“It’s getting there,” Caggiano Sr. said. “We had to do some modifications, and we’re doing the site work now. All we’re waiting on is the final building approval to go forward.”The restaurant hires up to 90 staff in the summer and maintains 35 full-time staff in the winter months, but Caggiano said he feels there is opportunity to hire additional staff in the future.Editor's note: this story has been updated with Dr. Trahos's comments.