Local restaurant to reopen after devastating fire

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – A beloved restaurant in the east end is about to reopen after being destroyed by an electrical fire.

It’s taken Veneto Wood Fired Pizza and Pasta, which is on East Avenue near Union Street, about nine months to get to this point.

The fire started January 4 in the walls of the restaurant’s prep room. It burned for hours. Although the building was left standing, the interior was another matter.

“But the smoke got throughout the entire building. The smoke got into the floors and into the ceiling, into the drywall. Anything outside of the brick was just affected by the smoke. What didn’t get affected by the smoke was flooded by the fire department as they were putting the fire out,” Vice President of Veneto Don Swartz said.

Swartz said almost everything needed replacing.

“Once we finally got authorization to get in here and start the demolition, it was basically gutting it down to the studs, the brick, and then rebuilding it, getting new floors, new counters, new bricks, new equipment, cooking equipment plateware, seating from the floor to the ceiling, everything we had to be ordered and replaced,” Swartz said.

The part of the restaurant that was really destroyed was the back storage area. So instead of redoing that part, Swartz has plans to add on to the dining experience with a courtyard.

“And we got a little surprise going back there, the masons are working and I think everyone’s going to like it. It’s a secured off kind of private area, and just even now, we’re going back there at night. We have some lights up. It’s very pretty. I was hoping to have that open by now,” Swartz said.

Although the courtyard won’t be open for dining yet, the rest of Veneto will be open seven days a week starting October 10th.

“I can’t wait to reopen. There’s not a day that goes by that somebody does not contact us through email or social media. When are you going to open? When are you going to open? And there’s so many stories from our customers that come in here,” Swartz said.

The fire also damaged the second floor of the building, which was occupied by Akimbo Bookstore, which has moved to University Ave. Meanwhile, the owners of Veneto are looking for a new tenant for the upstairs.