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Beloved Magna restaurant forced to close after earthquake, pandemic

Posted at 9:42 PM, Dec 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-07 23:42:36-05

MAGNA, Utah — A well-loved family-owned restaurant on Magna's Main Street is closing this weekend, after the owners said they took too much of a hit from the March earthquake and COVID-19 pandemic.

Many in the community were saddened by the announcement Monday that Nonna's Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria is shutting down. Customers flooded the phone lines and showed up in person Monday evening to place their last orders, as a way to support the family who runs it.

Nonna's has become a favorite on Magna Main and gained some celebrity when it was featured on an episode of Ghost Adventures in 2017.

Owner Sebastian Randazzo said people have traveled from all over the country, and even from other countries, to eat at Nonna's after seeing the episode.

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On Monday evening, Sebastian and his wife Tina were slammed in the kitchen, as takeout orders rushed in.

Magna Main can get bustling for Nonna's famous "Steak Night." Randazzo said they'll serve upwards of 100 steaks in an evening. On Monday's Steak Night, people arrived to find a two-hour wait for food and patiently sat down anyway.

Autum Ryan and James Evans said they knew it would be worth the wait. They love the Randazzo family and have been eating at Nonna's for years. While they enjoy the steak, Autum and James don't come for just a cut of New York strip.

"It's a sense of feeling of home, when you have close-knit people and everything working together," Autum said.

It's why they needed to make sure they made it to Nonna's this week.

"It's sad that is has to come to this," Autum expressed.

She and James found out earlier in the day that Nonna's can't stay open. James said he was heartbroken to learn about the closure.

"We've lost a landmark," he said. "It means... so much to so many people in this community that are regulars."

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Randazzo explained that they've suffered several hardships this year.

"It's been nonstop ever since March, he said. "One kick in the head after another."

The first kick: the March earthquake that left Magna's historic Main Street heavily damaged.

Randazzo said their building was unsafe to work in for eight weeks. When they finally reopened in May, they experienced the second kick.

"At that point we were under lockdowns, and shutdowns and then we got shut down again because of COVID," he said.

They looked into securing a PPP loan, but Randazzo indicated that because they are a family-owned and family-run business without any formal employees, they didn't qualify for much help.

"They told me they could give, I think it was like $3,000," he said. "That doesn't even cover, you know, a month. That wasn't even worth it to get on the hook for $3,000."

Business slowed to a fraction of what it was pre-pandemic. They were no longer coming close to their busy 100-steak Steak Nights.

"Everything compiled on top of it hurts, hurts, hurts. Everybody's got bills to pay and we ain't making them. We're not making our bills at all" he said.

The final hurt for the family will come after Saturday, when they close their doors for the final time.

Randazzo said they plan to launch another business with the same Nonna's name, but it won't be a restaurant. They'll run an online store for CBD products called Nonna's Wellness.

He expressed how much they'll miss their loyal customers.

"I want to thank the people of Magna," Randazzo said, pausing with tears in his eyes, "for taking us in eight years ago. And all the support that we've had over the years. It hurts, you know. So, thank you guys. Thanks for everything that you guys have done for us."

They now have more support than ever this week, as customers place one last order to say goodbye to a Magna Main Street staple.