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Yogurteria to raffle itself off

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It is not often an individual can buy a business for $100, but that should change come April.

Yogurteria owner Antonio Scarselli said he hopes to raffle off his Bayside restaurant that specializes in healthy eating April 1.

“I’ve been trying to sell the place, but there have been no buyers,” said Scarselli, of College Point. “So I want to hold this raffle.”

Scarselli first has to find a nonprofit sponsor for the raffle in order for the event to be legal. The nonprofit would land 10 percent of the raffle profits. Scarselli anticipates the event would generate between $300,000 to $500,000 provided he sells between 3,000 and 5,000 tickets for $100 a pop.

The business, which opened seven years ago at 213-35 39th Ave., will be turned over to the raffle winner debt-free. The winner will also receive all stock and equipment in the restaurant, which still has 15 years remaining on its lease.

“I’m really hoping a nonprofit steps up and helps out,” Scarselli said.

A sour economy and a desire to retire prompted the owner to put his business up for sale about three months ago.

“We were doing fine and then the tide changed at the end of 2008,” he said of the rough economy.

Scarselli, who grew up in Flushing, has long been in the restaurant business and opened up his first shop, Pizza Garden on 171st Street and Northern Boulevard, 50 years ago.

“I used to sell a slice for 15 cents then and I’d make a lot of money,” he said. “Now I sell a slice for $2.25 and we don’t make enough money.”

The College Point resident also opened the Pizza & Pasta Delight chain, which has locations in Flushing, Westchester County and Manhattan. In all, Scarselli has owned about 10 eateries.

After running successful pizza shops, Scarselli wanted to try his hand at a restaurant catering to the health food crowd. The eatery, located just off Bell Boulevard, offers pizza with whole wheat crust, a variety of salads — including Mediterranean garden and caesar — such wraps as yogurt dill chicken and turkey with avocado and falafel and veggie burgers, among other items.

“I wanted light food for everybody,” Scarselli said. “I wanted things like soups and salads, and I thought companies like that can’t fail. It’s one of the only healthy eateries around here.”

For more information, call 718-224-1000.

Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e-mail at agustafson@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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