Last Thanksgiving weekend, an early morning fire broke out in the top-floor apartment at 204 E. 13th St. between Second Avenue and Third Avenue. No injuries were reported in the blaze. (A cause has not been publicly revealed.)
The fire caused extensive water damage to Bruno Pizza on the ground floor. At the time, owner Demian Repucci told me that he was hopeful to get the restaurant up and running again.
Now, nearly eight months later, Repucci has decided that reopening the space wasn't feasible. He shared the news via Instagram earlier this month. Here's part of the message:
It is with a heavy heart that I bring you this news. The plethora of adversity that normally comes with running a restaurant was always made up for with the myriad amazing relationships I developed with you, the restaurant’s friends, neighbors, and pizza lovers. ...
But the water damage to the restaurant that resulted from the fire in the building upstairs has proven to be too much to overcome. After several months trying to figure out how to get the restaurant back on its feet, it seems recovery moved beyond my grasp.
So the difficult decision to close Bruno Pizza had to be made. The writing was on the wall. Or, rather, no longer on the wall (er... window). Thank you to everyone who came in, ate pizza, talked, drank, listened to my crazy stories, ate more pizza, and gave your love and support in spades. I appreciate it so very much.
I’m not sure another restaurant will ever be in my future, but pizza eating certainly will. As well as great conversation. So please do keep in touch.
[Photo from July 1]
Bruno Pizza, which milled its own flour, opened in July 2015. This was the first food establishment for Repucci, a restaurant designer-consultant.
Eater critic Ryan Sutton gave the restaurant's nouveau-Neapolitan pies high marks, with a post headlined "Bruno Is the Best Thing to Happen to Neapolitan Pizza Since Roberta's." Pete Wells at the Times was not so kind, dropping zero stars on the place. Two years after that punishing review (and after Bruno's original chefs left), Repucci offered to return the 0-star review to the Times.
In May 2016, Bruno Pizza won a judgment against a petition of eviction by landlord Steve Croman’s 9300 Realty.