PAINTED POST, N.Y. (WETM) — Pierri’s Central Restaurant has announced they will be permanently closing their business on July 10.
The restaurant has been operating since 1946 and has been passed down from generation to generation.
“We feel it’s just time to close and retire,” said Tommy Pierri, Owner of Pierri’s Central Restaurant.
Pierri has been the owner for the past 39 years and has stayed strong this year. Back in February, a car smashed through the side of the restaurant. The business faced $20k worth of damages back in February.
Restoration to the restaurant was completed the first week of April but Pierri faced the problem – the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s been a long time coming with the virus,” Pierri said. “Being shut down for 7 weeks and we’re trying to get back on our feet during this situation.”
Apart from the pandemic, another reason Pierri and his wife decided to close their business is for their health.
“We both have our health issues that we’re battling now just like everyone else our age,” said Diane Pierri. “It’s time to smell the roses for a little bit of time while we still can.”
The Pierri’s publicly announced their closure on the restaurant’s Facebook page on July 1.
For their customers, it was heartbreaking to hear about the news. 18 News spoke with one customer who has gone daily for at least 10 years with her husband.
“It’s really sad,” said Linda Mullen, a regular customer. “It’s like the end of an era, it’s my go-to place. It’s making me emotional – it’s sad. It’s such a family atmosphere, and I love these guys.”
Another customer said he’s been going to the restaurant for lunch almost every day for nearly 21 years and describes the closure as ‘quite a blow.’
“It’s been a big part of the community,” said Karl Smith, a regular customer. “Tom and Diane, both, a big part of everything, not just the restaurant but contributing to the community and supporting everyone. It’s kind of a really big blow.”
As for the restaurant’s staff, many said this is more than a job, it’s another family. Diane told 18 News that they have watched their employee’s kids grow up, and the employees have watched the Pierri’s kids grow up.
“I have been working here for more than 20 years,” said one server. “I have kids and my kids work here and we’re just one big family.”
“They were so kind to all of us,” said Scott Smith, Cook at Pierri’s Central Restaurant. “They’re so very generous, hands down, the best boss any of us could ever have.”
Tommy said he has received phone calls and emails from friends and customers, wishing them good luck and thanking them for all these years.
“I really do enjoy their comments and everything,” Tommy said. “Thank you, you guys have just been tremendous supporting us for all these years. I wish I was 20 years younger, I’d try to stay in business.”