Ledo Restaurant, the iconic Maryland pizza shop that launched a regional chain with signature flaky, rectangular pies enjoyed by University of Maryland students, hit musicians, and professional sports stars, isn’t closing after all.
Eater reported last week that owner Tommy Marcos Jr. was closing the College Park staple. A manager confirmed that news, and the restaurant publicized on Instagram that it would be “closing permanently” on Sunday, November 22. Marcos, whose father co-founded Ledo in 1955, has struck a deal with a regional hospitality management company to keep the legendary pizza parlor going. The owner has endured several health problems and wants to retire.
Jim McGinnis, the founder and CEO of College Park-based Restaurant Brokers & Developers, says Chesapeake Hospitality has signed a contract to buy Ledo Restaurant’s business and recipes from Marcos. Chesapeake, a Greenbelt-based firm that operates hotels throughout the Mid-Atlantic, the Midwest, and the South, is in the final stages of lease negotiations with the city of College Park, McGinnis says.
According to the broker, Chesapeake will keep Ledo (4509 Knox Road) closed for renovations before reopening in four to six months. Marcos has offered to consult with Chesapeake to make sure the beloved pizza stays the same.
Alexa Marcos, the daughter of Tommy Marcos Jr. and granddaughter of co-founder Tommy Marcos Sr., told to Eater last week the original Ledo would close Sunday, November 22. Alexa Marcos, 25, works part-time as a manager in the shop.
The Marcos family listed the business for sale in January 2020 and had a deal in place to sell it in March, but that fell through, Alexa Marcos says. Tommy Marcos Jr. told student newspaper the Diamondback that he was looking to retire, and selling the business would be “bittersweet.”
Recently, calls were coming in at a steady clip, she says.
“We’ve been pretty busy today,” Marcos said early Thursday evening. “The more people that find out [we’re closing], the busier we are.”
Tommy Marcos Sr. and Robert L. Beall founded the original Ledo Restaurant in Adelphi in 1955. Their sons launched a franchise program in 1989, but a split between Marcos Jr. and James Beall left the Marcos clan with the original shop and the Bealls with a more corporate operation that has grown to over 100 locations stretching as far south as Tampa, Florida.
“It’s definitely shaped who I am as a person, my work ethic, just watching my dad and my grandfather,” Alexa Marcos says.
McGinnis says Chesapeake, the new buyer for the original business, already operates Ledo franchises.
In its heyday, Ledo’s saw visits from musicians such as Frank Sinatra, Bruce Springsteen, and the Rolling Stones, and Hall of Fame sports figures including NFL rivals Johnny Unitas and Joe Namath and New York Yankees catcher Yogi Berra.
The Oprah Winfrey Show once highlighted Ledo on an episode about America’s best pizza. The shop in Adelphi moved into a location in College Park in 2009, leaving behind a location full of stained-glass lamps and photographs of famous visitors.
Correction: This article has been corrected to update the number of Ledo franchises
Updated, Monday, November 23, 10:15 a.m. This story has been updated with new information covering the Marcos family’s plans to sell the business