[Photo: Renata Steiner]
With reporting by Eater contributor Tallulah Anderson.
Piecora's crew had no warning before getting the news yesterday that the more than 30-year-old pizzeria was sold and will shutter April 15. "Everyone thought it was a joke because it came out on April 1st, but it's totally real," Piecora's Assistant Manager Tim Dijulio tells Eater. Dijulio has worked at the Capitol Hill pizza shop for more than 20 years and was featured on Eater in March. Curbed Seattle has details on the $10.3 million sale to Chicago-based Equity Residential. (Yes, that probably means more apartments will be built on the site.)
Dijulio describes the mood as "pretty somber" after employees were told about the sale, especially for "some of the old-timers." It's mostly sad, but there's no hard feelings, it just kind of is what it is," he says. "I think most of the crew is just in shock, it's hard not to get emotional. We don't know what the next two weeks are going to be like but we want to end on a really positive note."
The longtime employee remembers the first time he set foot in Piecora's decades ago:
My first experience walking into this place was Paulie and Kevin, two longtime Piecora's employees, standing not behind the register, just standing with two cigarettes hanging out of their mouths and they were like, "Hey, how you doing? Just grab a seat and we'll be with you when we feel like it" and they had 'London Calling' by The Clash playing and in my head I was like, oh man I love this place. It just felt right, but I can see how it would rub some people the wrong way. That was just the vibe. Now all those people who used to come in and smoke have kids and the neighborhood's changed so it's a little more family-oriented. But it's been awesome, because there's still a touch of our old style.
Dijulio says he's happy for Danny Piecora and family. "It was time to retire," he says. "There were a few different possibilities, downsizing the operation for example. Piecora's needed at the very least a minor remodel, but in the end it was better to just go out while we are still at a good place. I'm walking away with my head held high and I know they are, too. They've treated me like family, I love them to death. It's sad, but I'm ready for a change."
Dijulio is putting together a closing party before Piecora's locks its doors for the last time in two weeks. "I've been talking to a bunch of musicians, so we're definitely trying to plan something," Dijulio says. "Whether it will be the last night or the 12th, we aren't sure yet, but keep an eye out. We want it to be a celebration for the crew, go out with good vibes."
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