Lil' Anthony's Restaurant and Pizzeria, the pizza staple for Miami lawyers, judges and police known for its Italian menu of pizzas, sandwiches is closing for good. Its last day is Friday.
Strategically-placed across the street from the Stephen P. Clark Government Center and one block from the Miami-Dade County Courthouse, this quaint little joint has been serving pizza and pasta to lawmen as well as other customers for a decade.
The downturn in the economy and rent hikes hurt, says the seven-year owner Rafaelle Scatamacchia. Business has fallen about 50 percent over the last year and a half. "We're taking a break," says Scatamacchia. "It's been nice while it lasted. It's better to be wounded than dead."
The revenue of no more than $17,000 per month is not enough to cover the monthly expenses of rent, food, electricity of roughly $20,000 per month. At times Scatamacchia had to supplement thousands of dollars of his own savings to cover the cost just to keep the restaurant open.
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"I feel sad, but I understand the owner, " says Dorel Iscu, who has worked at the pizzeria for six years. "It's business, you know?"
However, Iscu hinted at the possibility that the owner may open up another location on Flagler Street.
Scatamacchia has an option for him to buy the property behind the building where a parking lot is currently located, although he has no plans to do this. "It was never about the money, it's about doing something right when people like your food," says Scatamacchia. "To see your place packed, it's like a high."