After opening a new location in Connecticut, the owner of Jimmy Seas Pan Pasta is planning a slow retreat from his Oak Bluffs restaurant in order to give a new owner the chance to learn the pasta business. 

Last month, Will Craffey, owner of the Kennebec avenue eatery, opened a new Jimmy Seas location in Avon, Conn., the third restaurant in the expanding franchise. With the demands of the new restaurant, Mr. Craffey said he decided to sell the Oak Bluffs location. The 50-seat restaurant was briefly put up for sale late last year, listed at $1.5 million.  

A new owner has stepped forward but wasn’t ready to purchase the restaurant right away, so Mr. Craffey said he would retain ownership for the next three years, with plans to sell the business and the real estate after 2027. 

He did not disclose the name of the potential new owner. 

The Oak Bluffs location is currently closed. — Ray Ewing

Mr. Craffey, 60, grew up in Connecticut, which prompted his decision to open a restaurant there. He said his first job was in the same plaza as the new pasta place. He said he also wanted to be closer to his loved ones after decades in the Vineyard restaurant scene. 

“I started my first business, Island Pizza, when I was 26,” Mr. Craffey said. “I’ve been [on the Vineyard] a long time.” 

Moving to a more stable location, where it is easier to find staff, was also a motivating factor in opening the Avon restaurant, he said.

Jimmy Seas has been a fixture in Oak Bluffs for years. Mr. Craffey took over the restaurant in 2014, buying the location after it went up for auction.

In more recent years, Mr. Craffey decided to bring his pasta to the mainland. About three years ago, he opened a location in Lincoln, N.H. After the Avon restaurant opened, customers from the Vineyard and New Hampshire flocked to the new restaurant, he said.

When Mr. Craffey took over the Oak Bluffs restaurant, he had a longtime Jimmy Seas chef stay on to show him the ropes, he said. That helped him keep Jimmy Seas the way it had been for years and he devised the new three-year plan to help the new owners continue that legacy.

“In my opinion, this was the best way to keep Jimmy Seas the way it is,” he said. 

With his expected exit in the next few years, Mr. Craffey reminisced about how the Vineyard changed the trajectory of his life. But he said the restaurant business on the Island has become harder over the years.

“It’s getting to be more and more difficult to run a business on Martha’s Vineyard,” he said. “I want some place where I can get a paycheck 52 weeks a year, not 26 weeks, and I want to spend more time with my friends and family.”