Capitol Hill pizzeria closing after owners sell to developer

Capitol Hill pizzeria closing after owners sell to developer »Play Video

SEATTLE -- A longtime Seattle restaurant will serve its final meal this week, after the owners sold their property to one of the largest apartment ownership groups in the country.

Piecora's pizza, at 1401 E Madison St., closes Tuesday night after 32 years on Capitol Hill. The restaurant opened in 1982, serving New York-style pizza to a west coast crowd.

"It's very surreal," said restaurant manager Tim DiJulio, after letting in a crowd of people who had lined up outside the restaurant before opening. "There's a family atmosphere here that you can't put a finger on. It's hard to put into words."

DiJulio, who has been at the restaurant for two decades, said the pizzeria had been overwhelmed by customers since announcing of the closure.

"I wanted to be here one more time and to say goodbye," said Bob Riley, as he waited for a cheese pizza during Tuesday's lunch hour. "It's bittersweet.  I'm really happy for the family. I don't blame them at all for what they're doing - the economics of it - but I'm really sad to see this place go."

Chicago-based Equity Residential bought the property that houses Piecora's and a tattoo parlor for a reported $10.3 million earlier this month.

"It's a big thing but this is where (the neighborhood is) going," added DiJulio. "You go back to New York; SoHo's not what it was. The Village is kind of not what it was. Ballard isn't even to me what it was."

"I'm happy for what they've achieved but I'm sad they're leaving. It's my favorite place for a pizza," added Mark Stepich of Madrona, who came for Tuesday lunch but also bought a second pizza to save.

"I'm going to freeze this for my brother-in-law. He's in LA. He's got this place on speed dial," joked Stepich. "He's going to owe me serious to not consume this immediately."

The restaurant planned to stay open until 9 p.m. Tuesday night and then have a private party for staff and regulars. One of the owners said she wasn't ruling out reopening in another location in the future.

"This to me is an icon. Losing Piecora's is a really big blow," added Riley, "and it scares me for so many other institutions around here."