THE END OF AN ERA
Iconic Main Street Restaurant Closes
HURLEYVILLE, May 2021 – After 41 years as a Main Street landmark, the iconic Frankie & Johnny’s Restaurant (also known as Nardi’s) has closed its doors.
After enduring a year of the COVID pandemic that saw their business restricted to take-out orders only, the popular Italian eatery permanently shut down rather abruptly on April 12. The announcement of the closing came just days after the restaurant had re-opened on April 8 following a brief early spring hiatus.
“It is with a grateful heart that The Nardi Family is closing our doors to Frankie & Johnny’s,” the family posted on the restaurant’s website and on Facebook. “We would like to thank our customers & friends for 41 years of support. It was a pleasure to serve you & be part of your lives for so long. 2020 taught us an invaluable lesson to be grateful for our health & to shift our priorities.
“We are looking forward to starting our next chapter spending quality time with our family.
“Thank you for appreciating our life’s work.
“With Love, Mary, Johnny, Frank, Amy, Family & Staff”
“It really was a last minute decision,” Amy Nardi said last week. “But we all just decided it was time.”
The Nardi family first opened Frankie and Johnny’s in 1980, when they decided to leave the Bronx where they had operated a family restaurant also called Frankie and Johnny’s. The Hurleyville eatery soon became known far and wide for its casual atmosphere, its red sauce, and large portions, as well as for the house salad dressing, which co-owner Mary Nardi made personally.
For decades, people came to Hurleyville specifically to eat at Frankie & Johnny’s.
The restaurant quickly became part of the Hurleyville community, and soon added a private party room and off-premises catering. Many of the ingredients in their specialties came directly from the little garden John Nardi continues to tend in back of the restaurant. John Nardi will turn 90 years old in August of this year while Mary is 83.
“Owning a restaurant is a 24-hour a day job, and you can’t do it forever,” Amy Nardi said. “Last year was a difficult year, and it changed everything. We lost a number of loved ones, and we have just decided we want the time to spend with the loved ones we have left.”
Frank Nardi emphasizes that the family is not leaving the area, and intends to remain a part of the Hurleyville community.
“We’re still going to be around. We’re looking forward to the future here, there are exciting things happening,” he said, citing the new high school slated to open in September, and the Main Street Mews, which is nearing completion.
Both husband and wife agreed it was a difficult decision to close the restaurant after so many years, and an emotional one.
“We most definitely want to say thank you to all of our customers,” Amy Nardi said. “We are very grateful that we were able to be part of so many of their family celebrations over the years, weddings and birthdays and graduations. But we missed a lot of our own family celebrations because we never had time. Now we hope we will.”
She said the family had put the restaurant building up for sale at one point last winter, but has decided to take it off the market. They currently have no plans to sell the property, although they continue to evaluate their options, including possibly selling or leasing the building.
Amy says the family would love to hear from the community, and she has set up a dedicated email address for people to send comments or keep in touch.
The email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.