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Sad news for Toronto's pizza lovers: one of our city's oldest pizza joints, Vesuvio, is closing up for good this coming Sunday, amidst the uncertainty and strain of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For those who haven't had the pleasure of visiting, the Junction restaurant is run by the Pugliese family, who have owned and operated it since 1957. It opened as one of Toronto's first destinations for snagging New York-style pizza, characterized by its large, thin and borderline floppy inner crust that's perfect for folding. During their early years, Vesuvio thrived in the area despite prohibition-era restrictions that made restaurant operations challenging, and they ended up becoming a key player in dissolving liquor restrictions in the neighbourhood in 1997. The restaurant then became a city institution for both dine-in and delivery, drawing particular loyalty from its neighbourhood crowd and fostering a keen sense of community there, which helped the Junction to boom into the popular area it is today.
In a lengthy and heartfelt statement on their Facebook page, the owners of Vesuvio shared the news that their last day of service will be this upcoming Sunday, April 19. Eddie Pugliese, one of the co-owners, stated that they were already planning to scale back on operations at the start of 2020, so once the COVID-19 crisis hit, the business just no longer made sense for them financially. Since the announcement of their closing, the restaurant has seen an outpouring of support from generations of loyal customers and neighbourhood friends. Many shared their favourite memories of Vesuvio's on their Facebook page, too.
If you'd like to celebrate this iconic Toronto pizzeria for the last time (or try a famous slice before it's too late, if you haven't already), head in within the next few days to bid them farewell, show them some love and enjoy the city's best New York style pizza.