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April 2, 2014 at 5:03 PM

Goodbye to a stalwart Seattle pizzeria

File photo of food writer Ed Levine inspecting the crust at Piecora's. Ken Lambert/The Seattle Times

File photo of food writer Ed Levine inspecting the crust at Piecora’s. Ken Lambert/The Seattle Times

After 32 years, Piecora’s Pizza will serve its last slices. The restaurant, a landmark for New York-style pizza and a link to Seattle’s past, will close on April 15.

“(Owners) Deb and Danny Piecora are retiring, and they sold the property,” said longtime assistant manager Tim DiJulio.

Staffers heard the news Tuesday, he said, and it has been “a surreal day.”

“I couldn’t be more thrilled” for the Piecoras, he said. “We’re a tight-knit family.”

But he knows that customers from years – and decades — past are going to miss the landmark, a community favorite for food and company long before that section of Capitol Hill was considered anything close to hip. DiJulio’s going to miss them all too.

“We all hope to see people come in and give us a last hurrah,” he said. Plans are quickly being put together for farewell festivities, as the phone at the pizzeria rings off the hook.

Nancy Leson listed Piecora’s as one of Seattle’s enduring restaurants in 2001, “the place ex-pat New York pizza-lovers love to love.” Danny Piecora told reporter Andrea James years back that the biggest concern residents had about his neighborhood when he started planning the restaurant was having a cheap place to eat. He gave those customers a welcoming and arts-friendly atmosphere along with solid food, “a place where punk rockers perform on Saturday and preachers try their hand in the back on Sunday.” Mike McCready worked there in his pre-Pearl Jam days, as did Mia Zapata of the Gits.

DiJulio took on a Piecora’s job along with his pal McCready at a now-defunct Ravenna branch coming out of high school in the ’80s. Throughout the years, with his own simultaneous career in music, he kept up the connection with a shift here or there. He settled into the Capitol Hill branch 15 years ago.

The Capitol Hill Seattle blog reported the sale price of the building at more than $10 million, calling it “one of the largest recent transactions in an increasingly coveted — and crowded — area for development” as well as yet another farewell to a business serving middle-class customers.

“Maybe they’ll use that space to open a new Chase bank or an upscale wine bar. That sure would be nice. Pfffft,” said a commenter on DiJulio’s Facebook page. “RIP, @Piecoras. I can’t wait to see the ugly apartments for techies that’ll replace you!” wrote a commenter on Twitter.

DiJulio knows there are a lot of opinions about the changing nature of the neighborhood, but he’s focusing on support for the family and a goodbye to the restaurant.

What made the restaurant last so long in the face of so much change? It’s gone up and down throughout the years, he said, but he thinks all the competition for diners in recent years pushed them to the top of their game.

“It’s real. It’s the old-school homemade dough, it’s amazing, we spend a bundle on our cheese from Wisconsin…” he said.

“It’s an honest, honest pizzeria.”

Check the Piecora’s Twitter feed for updates on closing parties.

Comments | Topics: Deb and Danny Piecora, Mike McCready, Piecora's

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