Downtown Derry eatery ready to grow

JULIE HUSS/Staff photoLisa DeSisto, second from right, owner of Rig A' Tony's Italian Takeout in downtown Derry, stands with friends and staff at her business. DeSisto is planning major expansions in Derry and Windham. With DeSisto are, from left, Nicole Lawson, Tammy Langone and Dina Gotts.

DERRY — Lisa DeSisto has brought family traditions and food to the community for two decades, offering her handmade Italian recipes to customers at Rig A' Tony's Italian Takeout on West Broadway.

Now, still rooted in family tradition and those popular recipes, DeSisto is ready to grow.

Rig A' Tony's is taking its foods and convenience service on the road to a location at 34 South Ave., a marketplace type of business that will offer a variety of grab and go hot foods, and other offerings, all catering to Rig A' Tony's business mission to create community with convenience added in.

The South Avenue location is the former Brothers Variety Store, a longtime corner fixture in that neighborhood that DeSisto said is perfect for giving that area a boost, both with good food choices and an updated corner location.

All foods will be produced in the original West Broadway location to maintain quality and consistency, DeSisto said, and for South Avenue, it will be a quick in and out, convenient option for getting familiar Rig A' Tony's offerings.

In addition to the new South Avenue location, DeSisto and her business will also be taking over space at 3 Rockingham Road in Windham, formerly The Grind Rail Trail Cafe's second location.

Although that location will be Rig A' Tony's based, DeSisto said The Grind's coffees and drinks will still be available. She credited Grind owner Melanie Davis for a lot of support.

"Melanie and I, we both have the same dream, it's one team," DeSisto said.

And that location in Windham will also give a boost to the nearby rail trail, something DeSisto hopes to keep active and well used.

The Windham location will offer bikes to use, bocce games and horseshoes near the trail for customers to enjoy.  Bikes may also be a feature at South Avenue, DeSisto said, to also utilize the proximity of Derry's own trail system.

DeSisto said her business at Rig A' Tony's has always been very community oriented. She wants to continue with that thought process in her new locations.

She spent one afternoon seated at a window table speaking about her plans, her goals, and what her business means to her after two decades.

DeSisto is surrounded daily in her updated West Broadway location with family photographs, mementos and reminders of family that supported her, taught her, and still to this day, remain a strong fixture in what she does.

She also recalls the support of Derry town officials 20 years ago when she was first bringing her food business idea forward.

"I was sitting at this same table 20 years ago," she said.

She credits her food, her staff, friends and community for helping her succeed.

"I treat customers as family, as if you were coming to my home," she said. "I love my community so much."

DeSisto also appreciates a strong catering business, with lines of customers often standing in front of the Broadway business' counter during holidays, graduations, or other times of year to grab trays of meatballs, pasta, salads and sandwiches.

"It's time to take the leap and time for all in," DeSisto said, adding it's the next chapter of her life, one she looks forward to and one she hopes her faithful clientele through the years will enjoy.

DeSisto also floated an idea to even one day write a book based on "what I see from around my counter."

That, she said, would also give credit to her fellow business owners that always reach out to support her if she needs anything.

DeSisto feels she is achieving the American dream, and keeps a famed quote by "The Wizard of Oz" author L. Frank Baum framed and close by.

It reads "You've always had the power my dear. You just had to learn it for yourself."

As she plans to grow her business, DeSisto said it's all about community, customers, and a hope and dream to succeed.

"I think back at how blessed I am, to carry on the legacy of what family is all about," she said. "My whole life all I wanted was to be a part of family. I've always been surrounded by the best customers and staff members. They are my family. And it was always right in front of me."

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