WEST PITTSTON — The reopening of Antonio’s Pizza’s original building meant more to Angelo Bartolomei than just the food.
As the Plains resident sat down in a booth to enjoy his pizza, memories returned of sitting there with his daughter many years ago after picking her up from her piano lessons.
Maybe it was the food making him smile, or maybe it was those wonderful memories — either way Bartolomei could not have been happier to see the building up and running again.
“It’s good to be back,” he said.
Antonio’s Pizza reopened its original building on the corner of Wyoming and Luzerne Avenue during a soft opening Oct. 10, a little over four years after it was damaged during the flood of 2011.
A few weeks into the restaurant’s return, manager Francessca Carannante said business has been busier than ever and Barolomei isn’t the only customer to express happiness about the Luzerne Avenue location reopening.
“Everyone seems very happy,” she said. “Probably, almost every person who has walked in through our doors has been very positive and very happy.”
The building looks as good as new with over a dozen tables and booths for dining and a big screen TV. Out front is a fryer that can fit up to 16 pizzas and hot lamps to keep hot foods warm.
A lot of the kitchen materials, Carannante said, were damaged in the 2011 flood, but were refurbished to look and operate like new.
Even though the Luzerne Avenue location is now operational, a location in the Gerrity’s Shopping Complex, where Antonio’s has been located since 2012, will stay open.
Carannante talked of the possibility of making the Gerrity’s location a delivery operation, but kinks need to be worked out to make that happen.
“We’ve never done delivery before,” she said. “It’s a new thing to us and we’re not going into that blind, so we’re doing research on it and we’ll do the best we can. Eventually, I would like to do delivery, but when? I don’t know at the moment.”
Employees are currently splitting their times at both locations, but new employees will be hired soon, said Carannante.
The Carannante family once had a restaurant in Wyoming as well, but that location burned down a few months after the 2011 flood damaged the Luzerne Avenue building.
Although West Pittston now has two Antonio’s Pizza locations, Carannante knows nothing beats the original.
“Seeing everyone and seeing all the customers come in is great,” she said. “Also, for the holidays we can decorate the place and have fun with it. It’s a new place, but it’s all the same as before.”