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Tony’s Pizza Palace re-opens in Cranston

(WJAR)

A Cranston pizza place is re-opening after being left out in the cold for two years.

It’s more than just the food, but also the sense of community that's now back.

There are new ovens, new equipment, and new space, at Tony's Pizza Palace on Pontiac Avenue, but the same menu, secret sauce, homemade dough, and the same owners, are at it again.

Dave's Marketplace bought the plaza where the old Tony's used to be. Chris Mantsos, who owns the restaurant with his wife, Roula, told NBC 10 News about the day they got the visit from the landlord.

“I almost gonna’ fall off the sky. Thirty days”, said Chris, referring to the initial notification that they’d have to move out in one month. “Can't get out in 30 days. And then negotiations back and forth, they give us three months. Me and my wife -- we thought it was the end of the world.”

It's named Tony's after the original owners in 1970, where Chris worked part-time. When he quit being a jewelry designer full-time, he bought the place and decided to keep the name.

“I told them, I says, ‘Hey, change the name? I'll go out of business,’” Chris said with a laugh.

After they got kicked out of the place where they lost their lease, figuring out what to do next, they took a trip back to Greece.

Call it foreshadowing, but they recalled 10 years ago, on a cold and snowy night, when they locked up for the evening, they noticed that a building right across Pontiac Avenue on the corner was for sale.

They remembered a customer who was very upset that her business's rent nearby had just been doubled.

“She couldn't afford it,” said Roula. “I feel so bad for her. So, I tell my husband, ‘Why don't we get this place in case something happens someday? He say, 'Oh no, we fine, we fine.' I say, 'Well, get it anyway.’”

They did. An appliance store went in, and -- call it perfect timing -- the owners recently said they were planning on retiring soon.

Roula said she didn’t want to do to her tenants what had been done to them at the plaza.

“They move out January with good terms. And after they move out, we started make the place here,” said Roula. “We are so happy to see everybody coming back.”

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