Whether you love their baked lasagna or it's their macaroni that keeps you coming back for more, time is running out to grab your favorite dish at Castronovo's Original Grimaldi's Restaurant. The Utica staple is closing its doors after almost 70 years of business. Our Sarah Blazonis reports.
UTICA, N.Y. -- Grimaldi's Restaurant has become a Utica landmark during the 69 years it's stood on the corner of Bleecker and Kent streets. For some, the news that it will soon close its doors for good came as a surprise.
"I was a little confused. I think they shouldn't close this place just because it's delicious. Everybody around the community loves going here," said Joseph Johnson, a Utica resident and Grimaldi's patron.
The restaurant was purchased from the Grimaldis by the Castronovo family in 1989. It was put up for sale two years ago when owners Fred and Jeanne Castronovo decided to retire.
Friday, daughter Doreen Castronovo posted on Facebook, "After many long discussions, we have decided that this was the best avenue for us to take. Life is precious and much too short. The most important part of life is family. With that being said, I wish my parents, who have worked so very hard, a happy, and most of all healthy retirement."
Since opening its doors in 1943, Grimaldi's has served generations of diners and those we talked with say it's a city tradition that will be missed.
"Nobody ever is going to beat my grandmother's meatballs, but that place is pretty close," said Johnson. "It's just great. They put detail into the food, the sauce, it's just delicious. Everything is delicious. The macaroni especially."
"It's a loss for our community. It's a sense of pride, ownership for the community, and every family owned and operated company in the area gives back, so it's like losing a family member," said Pamela Matt, executive director of the Mohawk Valley Chamber of Commerce.
A family member the Utica community won't soon forget.
There was no immediate word on an official closing date for Grimaldi's.