An iconic Buffalo pizza is coming back to the city of its birth.
Started in Buffalo after World War II, Bocce Club hasn't sold a pie in the city since Rudy Sacco, operator of the Clinton Street location, died in 2011.
That should change this year.
The Bocce Club pizzeria that served the city from the corner of Clinton and Adams for half a century is being reopened by Jim Pacciotti, owner of Bocce Club pizzerias on North Bailey Avenue and Hopkins Road in Amherst.
"I'm using the bones of the building, which are good," said Pacciotti, who bought the building at 630 Clinton St. five years ago. But, "there's lots of work to do," he said.
The renewed restaurant will offer the full Bocce Club menu, of pizza, subs and wings, so fryers need to be installed. More refrigerated space is another requirement.
The Clinton Street pizzeria opened in the late 1950s, about a decade after Bocce Club was started in a Hickory Street tavern by Dino Pacciotti and his older sister, Malvina Sacco.
The restaurant's name referred to the bocce courts outside, where bowlers could while away an evening pitching, drinking and eating. The Clinton Street location was so popular that police traffic enforcement was necessary on busy nights, or so the story goes, said Jim Pacciotti, who is Dino's son.
In 1959, Dino Pacciotti opened the Bailey Avenue location.
Another Bocce pizzeria, Original Bocce's Pizza, is operated by Malvina’s son and Jim’s cousin, Frank Sacco, at 8214 Transit Road, Amherst.
Depending on how fast the work progresses, Pacciotti expects three to nine months to pass before it opens.
Rehabilitating older buildings into restaurant space can hold a lot of surprises, so he didn't feel comfortable with a more precise prediction.
"I hope to open in 2018," he said. "I'm excited about it."
(Hat tip: Robert Byczkowski)
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