Aldo Evangelista is gone, but La Hacienda will live on.
The Niagara Falls restaurant at 3019 Pine Ave. will be operated by the famed Niagara Falls restaurateur's family, with a planned reopening Wednesday.
"Nothing's changing," said Donato Evangelista, Aldo's son. From the food to the staff, everything will be as Aldo left it, Donato said.
After being diagnosed with cancer several months ago, Aldo asked Donato, a manager for an arcade company in Orlando, to take over. Aldo died at the restaurant last week before Donato could complete the transition to Niagara Falls.
"We're opening Wednesday for normal business hours," Donato said, 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. "It's going to be and my mom (Lillian) running the place from now on. I'm going to be the face, and she's going to be behind the scenes running it."
Aldo's recipes have to be transcribed from his "Italian chickenscratch" notes, but the keys to recreating his pizza and sauces are there, Donato said.
"We look forward to serving the exact same recipes that everyone has come to know and love," said Valerie Kay Evangelista, Donato's wife, who will manage the restaurant with him.
"He had already been diagnosed, but we've been talking because he wanted to keep the restaurant going. He didn't want to shut it down," Donato said.
On Wednesday, if all goes as planned, Aldo will get his wish.
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