Italian restaurant Bertucci closes in CT

DARIEN — After years on the Post Road, Italian restaurant chain Bertucci’s has suddenly closed its location in Darien.

No explanation was given for the closure of the restaurant. The only announcements came from a pre-recorded phone message and an easy-to-miss paper sign taped to the side door — not the front entrance — thanking guests for “all the years.”

Sisters Maria and Melissa Lopez said they wished the restaurant had given a little more warning of the closure when they pulled into the empty parking lot on Friday afternoon with visiting Mexican family members in the city.

“We were just trying to have a nice lunch and some shopping,” Maria Lopez said.

“I will live, but it’s unexpected,” added Melissa Lopez.

The closure was so abrupt that several nearby business owners said they were unaware the restaurant had closed.

Darien Car Clinic owner Tony Abbruzzese said he only discovered the restaurant was closed when he spotted moving trucks emptying the building – which sits across from the car wash – several days ago.

The once-busy restaurant never seemed to fully recover after the pandemic, Abbruzzese said, with what he described as limited crowds on Friday and Saturday nights.

Abbruzzese said he used to go to Bertucci every few months for their cauliflower crust pizza. The last time he was there in May, he said the staff seemed to be understaffed and overwhelmed.

“I’m surprised it’s lasted this long,” he said. “He kind of got lost there.”

The Massachusetts-based company struggled financially before the pandemic, filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2018 and closing 15 of its locations, including three in Connecticut.

In March 2021, several Connecticut Bertucci kitchens, including the Darien location, began operating as one of Guy Fieri’s Flavortown shadow kitchens, a delivery-only service for Fieri’s southern home-style menu.

Abbruzzese said he thinks there’s probably a lack of interest in visiting a chain restaurant when there are plenty of equally popular local eateries.

“There are so many family pizza places,” he said. “I think the locals prefer that.”

Bertucci could not be reached for comment.

Only three Bertucci locations remain in Connecticut. The closest location is 55 miles away in Newington.

About Walter Bartholomew

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