We’re all obsessed with Italian cuisine. Italian dishes are comforting, fulfilling, and homey, so we can’t resist heading to our favorite eatery for a bite. But many iconic mainstays in communities across America closed their doors this year.
But This Year, Many Favorites Closed Forever
Unfortunately, things don’t always work out; we’ve seen numerous restaurants run out of business or shut down, even if they were our favorite. Sadly, 2023 has witnessed the shutdown of some of the best and long-standing Italian eateries, too:
Salerno’s Apizza – Connecticut
Salerno’s Apizza has served customers for 75 years in the heart of Stratford, Connecticut. The generational pizzeria offered customers authentic Italian pizza made with love and from farm-fresh ingredients.
Pizza lovers adored Salerno’s Apizza because it didn’t experiment with the food, allowing guests to glimpse life in Italy. Although everyone was disappointed to see Salerno’s Apizza going out of business, it wasn’t for an unfortunate reason.
The owner, Carlo Salerno, had always planned on retiring from the pizza-making business once he turned 80. It was the perfect time for him to retire and spend time with his children and grandchildren.
Luigi’s – New York
Running for almost 70 years, Luigi’s satisfied foodies for decades and was known as Syracuse’s most beloved eatery. Luigi’s was best known for its oversized pasta plates; almost everyone who tried it was impressed with the sheer serving size, which could feed half a family with just one dish.
Sadly, the eatery, which the Savastino family first ran and then Merv White, closed down in August 2023. Even sadder is the reason; White believed it was time to let go since there wasn’t much left and sold the building to a deli.
Frost – New York
A people’s favorite since 1959 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, was set to run for a while before its untimely end this year. Frost’s became popular after it began serving authentic red sauce, which was so decadent that it was compared to Bamonte, a Williamsburg authentic eatery operating since 1902.
Frost wasn’t a one-trick pony; the eatery was famous for its cozy environment and authentic cuisine. Many claimed Frost’s food was cheaper and far superior to other Italian eateries in the area.
Frost went on the market sometime in 2022; although it was still operating then, people knew it was just a matter of time. The eatery ran out of business in June, when it celebrated its last serve with a bang.
Angeloni’s II Restaurant and Lounge – New Jersey
Long before Olive Garden, a dainty eatery sat in the heart of Atlantic City, New Jersey. Angeloni’s II Restaurant and Lounge operated for fifty years until its unexpected shutdown this year.
Alan Angeloni ran it throughout the decades, transforming this simple eatery into one of the most loved in town with, surprisingly, a million-dollar wine list. Unfortunately, after decades of joy and filled stomachs, Angeloni’s shut down after Alan decided to retire.
Tomaso’s on Camelback – Arizona
Successfully running an eatery for half a century isn’t easy, yet Tomaso’s on Camelback in Arizona accomplished the impossible. Tomaso’s was a humble eatery that served homemade Italian delicacies when it opened in 1977. It soon moved to fancier dishes but never abandoned its authentic Italian roots.
Most people were shocked when Tomaso’s closed down since the eatery didn’t reveal any reason. However, it was speculated that it decided to honor the legacy of its owner, who passed away in 2021.
Nick’s Italian Cafe – Oregon
If you’ve traveled to McMinnville, Oregon, anytime in the past few years, you might have heard much about Nick’s Italian Cafe. Running for nearly 46 years, Nick’s Italian Cafe won the James Beard Award and was one of the state’s most iconic restaurants.
The Italian restaurant attracted wine connoisseurs from all over. Nick’s was also famous for its pasta, akin to one you’d get from the humble kitchen of an Italian nonna.
Nick’s shut down sometime this year, and despite much prodding into the affair, a set reason was never discovered. Nick’s initially underwent a temporary closure but announced suddenly it wouldn’t return.
Franco’s Pizza – Connecticut
This pizzeria ran in Milford, Connecticut, for 32 years before it closed its doors to eaters. Franco was the culinary mastermind that sprung from a passionate heart, traveling from Italy to the U.S., hoping to achieve the American Dream.
Franco’s started serving homemade pizzas but quickly expanded its menu to serve shrimp scampi and bruschetta pie, which became its most beloved items. The eatery closed after the owners moved on, leaving baffled guests to head to its property for one last bite.
Malara’s Italian Restaurant – Nebraska
If you headed to Omaha, Nebraska, and asked anyone to guide you to the best Italian eatery, you’d always find your way to Malara’s. An old-school restaurant with a simple, down-to-earth menu and a cozy environment, Malara’s gratified hungry dwellers for 30 years before it decided to shut down.
Caterina Malara birthed the restaurant when she immigrated from Italy to America with nothing to her name; she delighted customers and ran the eatery for decades until she sadly passed away this year.
Bella Notte – Illinois
Chicago isn’t new to pizza, so finding an eatery most people love is tough. Yet almost everyone who made their way to Bella Notte once continued to do so even after 25 years had passed. Bella Notte was another popular eatery started by an enthusiastic immigrant; it had become so popular over the ages it even hosted celebrities like Mike Tyson and Michael Jordan.
Unfortunately, Bella Notte’s reason for closing down wasn’t because of a heartfelt goodbye or a bittersweet end; the eatery was driven out of business after extreme inflation post-COVID made it challenging to survive. It became even more difficult to keep its head high because the area was prone to crime, which scared customers away.
A La Lucia – Virginia
An aspiring eatery nestled in the heart of Old Town North in Alexandria, Virginia, A La Lucia, is shutting down at the end of this year. The diner has been running successfully for 20+ years and hosts thousands of love birds who flock to dine in its intimate setting.
A La Lucia’s decadent food and cozy environment helped it witness thousands of successful proposals, so it didn’t seem like the eatery would close down so suddenly. Yet, the owner, Nayeri, was forced to give up the business after the area was announced to be reconstructed for other purposes.
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