A crushing blow from an excavator Wednesday brought the long history of the former Angelo’s Italian restaurant to an end.
The Tenney Avenue building, condemned by the Amherst building department, was demolished by DL Construction and Excavating at the city’s request.
The structure had long been left empty and unattended — and according to building inspector David Maccartney, unsafe.
For former Angelo’s owner Rob Dimacchia, the destruction brought back a flood of memories.
“It’s very, very sad. I had a lot of good years there, a lot of good people and employees,” he said in a phone interview.
Dimacchia walked away from the business in 2011 in the midst of the national recession, saying after 28 years it was time to go. He sold Angelo’s, which shuttered eight months later.
His nephew, Brandon Dimacchia, an Amherst firefighter, was present for its end and called it “depressing.”
“Friday nights, pepperoni pizzas — that’s where it all happened for many years,” he said, also recalling his cousin’s legendary family Christmas parties at the restaurants in the 1980s.
Russ Marty, now an Amherst Steele High School teacher, remembers working at the pizzeria for several years and shared stories of running around the kitchen and storeroom.
He also streamed much of the demolition live to about 150 followers live on Facebook.
Assistant fire chief Jim Wilhelm was on hand for the building’s end as well.
“I’m not entirely sure that’s not the city’s original fire barn,” he mused, pointing to the gabled portion of the restaurant.
It’s possible, though not confirmed, that when the original Amherst fire station was moved in the 1860s from Maple Street, it found a home at the corner of Church and Tenney and eventually grew into Angelo’s.
Wilhelm said the building has been home over the years to any number of businesses — a blacksmith, trucking firm, dairy, pool hall, another pizzeria, beauty shop, television repair shop, music shop, photographer, and more.
Demolition has been months in the making.
Earlier this summer, the building department posted warnings declaring Angelo’s to be dangerous. Letters were sent to property owner Jay Murray warning that a knock-down would come if extensive repairs weren’t made.
Sanitation, holes in the roof, and running water inside were all concerns, Maccartney said.
Mayor Mark Costilow’s office made the final call to demolish after no repairs were forthcoming.
“I hate to see it go. I really have a lot of memories of the place. But the city has to move forward,” Costilow said.
Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.
Photos by Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times Demolition begins on the back side of the Angelo’s building with a room formerly used for food storage.