COLUMBUS (WCMH) — This weekend will mark the last day of business for a Columbus restaurant that has been in business for nearly 50 years.
Bruno’s Pizza and Restaurant up on the north side of the city will close Sunday for the very last time.
Anthony Fugate, the son of Bruno’s owner, said the business is all he’s known for the last 30 years — good pizza and customers who are like family.
“We’ve been getting overwhelmed…the phone’s been ringing off the hook,” Fugate explained.
As he’s gearing up for one more weekend of working at Bruno’s Pizza and Restaurant, closing up for good is something he’s still coming to terms with.
Fugate said the COVID-19 pandemic is the cause of it all.
“It’s hindered our business tremendously and we’ve tried to adapt every way we possibly can, with the measures and the lack of help and, you know, all of the above, but kept our heads above water for as long as we can. I mean the longest running restaurant on 161, you know, it hurts,” he said.
Bruno’s curbed back hours and its menu, but the restaurant has reached its limit.
The decision to close was announced on Facebook this week. Overwhelming support has been coming in online and over the phone.
“The carry out has been absolutely swamped,” Fugate said. “It reminded me of the old days, really, because we used to have people lined up down the sidewalk to get in. It’s a hard pill to swallow, really.”
This weekend, the dining room will be first come, first serve. Fugate added, “Really want to say thank you to all the regulars and supporters over the years because I know tons of them when I answer the phone, I know who it is already, I know their orders, so it’s like you’re losing a big family.”
The last hours in the restaurant will be reserved for family after they close. Fugate plans on having one last meal and then he’s going on an unwanted vacation to figure out what comes next.