Sept. 27, 2021 By Michael Dorgan
A family-owned pizzeria in Astoria that closed in May after a fire tore through its storefront reopened Monday – with the help of a resident-backed GoFundMe campaign.
Retro Pizza Cafe, located at 41-02 Broadway, has started serving customers once again – more than four months after a fire caused extensive damage to its electrical and plumbing systems. The ceiling and some of the pizzeria’s equipment was also destroyed.
Daisy Avraamides, who owns the pizzeria with her husband and three sons, said the family had to gut the inside of the single-story building and renovate the space before reopening.
Avraamides said that the total cost of restoration work – as well as the purchasing of new equipment – came to around $170,000.
The co-owner said that a GoFundMe fundraiser, which she started at the urging of customers days after the blaze, brought in nearly $40,000 to cover some of the costs. Avraamides said that the donations were key to the pizzeria reopening.
“The GoFundMe helped a lot… there are a lot of good people out there,” Avraamides said.
The establishment’s insurance paid out $30,000 while the food delivery app company Slice also made a financial donation. The family footed the remainder of the bill, she said.
“It’s been a very challenging time, you never expect anything like that to happen and thank God we are all alive,” Avraamides said. “Thanks to the customers and members of the community who called here every day to try and help us.”
Avraamides said the blaze in May was an electrical fire that started behind a refrigerator.
The pizzeria has been restored to its former look with fresh paint and new tables placed inside and outside. All of the glass windows at the front of the shop have been replaced.
The family held a soft reopening today and handed out free slices to customers. They will fully reopen Wednesday when online deliveries resume.
“We are a bit nervous about reopening after not making pizza for so long. Our hands are still shaking but we are happy to be serving.”
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