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Popular Corn Hill bistro Tony D's to move to new location

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Tony D’s, the popular Italian bistro in Corn Hill, will close the location next week with plans to re-open soon near University Avenue and Culver Road, the restaurant announced Thursday.

“After nearly 15 years in this location, it is time to say goodbye,” wrote Jay Speranza, the restaurant’s owner and chef, on the Facebook page for Tony D’s.

Speranza said in an interview that he plans to close on Feb. 18 and reopen in early-to-mid March at 1290 University Ave. in a repurposed  industrial building that hosts myriad businesses, including The Revelry and The Sawmill restaurants.

He said Tony D's would be roughly in the space occupied by the former Pomodoro Grill and Wine Bar and Blades Private Events and Catering, a location that offers more square footage and more parking than his restaurant had in Corn Hill.

"An opportunity came up and it was kind of too good to not do it," Speranza said. "I feel that we've kind of outgrown the space a little bit and that the move will allow us to make things a little more convenient for our guests." 

Tony D’s opened at 288 Exchange Blvd. in Corn Hill Landing in August 2008 as the creation of co-owners Chris DeGrazia and Tony DiCesare, the latter being for whom the restaurant was named.



The place was an instant hit with a menu of signature coal fired pizzas, a posh cocktail bar, and an ambience that reflected its motto of “Real. Italian. Comfort.”
Tony D'S Jay Speranza. - PHOTOS BY KEVIN FULLER
  • PHOTOS BY KEVIN FULLER
  • Tony D'S Jay Speranza.

Speranza took ownership of the restaurant in 2017 after the untimely deaths of both owners in unrelated incidents in early 2016 threw the eatery into an unusual legal limbo in which the bistro became a ward of Monroe County.

Neither DeGrazia nor DiCesare had wills, and because each owned an equal share of the restaurant, the asset fell to the county’s public administrator, an official who is tasked with tying up loose ends for the deceased when there is no one else to do it.

The restaurant limped along briefly before closing altogether and, eventually, being resurrected in 2017 by Tony D’s executive chef, Speranza.

Speranza is also the owner of Cotoletta, an Italian restaurant in Greece.

He called the Tony D's move "bittersweet."

"It's like when you move, right?" he said. "You've lived in a house and you realize you need more space, and you move to what you think is going to be a better house and you're upgrading and you know its a better house and you're excited to move, but every now and then you look back and you see the pencil marks on the wall where you watched the kids grow. Its' that kind of feeling."

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story erroneously reported that Speranza is a shareholder in a company that owns several restaurants in the area. He owns two restaurants. The article has been updated to reflect the information.

David Andreatta is CITY's editor. He can be reached at [email protected].