Mimi’s Pizza, an Upper East Side mainstay, has closed its doors after 59 years of business. Dozens of former patrons and friends expressed their surprise and shock over social media such as Facebook and Twitter, including celebrity chef Bobby Flay, who worked as a delivery boy for Mimi’s as his first job.
“I hate this!! Thanks NY Real estate ...,” Flay wrote on his Twitter page.
Flay isn’t the only celebrity with a connection to Mimi’s. Paul McCartney and Bruce Springsteen are also said to have been frequent Mimi customers.
Stephen Vanacore, the owner of Mimi’s, said the closing was due to a dispute with the landlord. Vanacore declined to elaborate.
The store, on Lexington Avenue near 84th Street, has been closed since June 26. Vanacore said he was given until July 1 to vacate. Last week, the Vanacore family gathered in the restaurant to sell off the last of their equipment, following a public auction that was held on June 28.
“It’s been a big surprise, people have been coming in here crying,” Vanacore said. “Our family will miss families of the Upper East Side.”
One local resident standing outside expressed his surprise that the pizza parlor had closed.
“I’ve lived here for 30 years, I used to go here all the time,” he said, “I can’t believe they’re gone.”
The business was started and named by Vanacore’s father, Dominic “Mimi” Vanacore, and inherited by Stephen.
When asked about plans for the future, Vanacore expressed hope for relocation, but no plans have been set.
“We’re going to rest and re-evaluate for now,” he said.
A flyer posted outside advised those interested in staying updated like Mimi’s Facebook page and follow them on Instagram.
“So tonight as we pulled those heavy gates down for the last time, we want to thank all of our neighbors, friends and loyal customers who came by to share a story and say goodbye. As you can imagine this has been an extremely difficult and very emotional time for our whole family. Your outcry of support and love is something we will cherish and remember forever. Thank you thank you thank you from the bottom of our hearts,” they wrote on Facebook.