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Could uncovered Pontillo's neon be a sign of what's to come?

By Howard B. Owens

Covered by a giant tarp because business signs cannot appear on the outside of buildings that are for sale, according to city code, the neon-lit Pontillo's Pizzeria sign once again hangs proudly from the building at 500 E. Main St., Batavia.

Could it be a sign that Sam Pontillo is getting close to reopening the legendary restaurant? We still haven't heard from Sam or building owner Thomas Masachi about what's going on there, but crews continue to work inside the building.

Amy Davis

Sam & Tony started this business long before many of us were born. A hometown pizza shop where all the kids in town hung out on the weekend nights. They greeted people by name when they came in the door. Sam Sr. took this particular one for his own, while Uncle Tony branched out to other areas. I knew them both personally, and they had such pride in serving the area with great customer service and the best pizza I've ever had. If a son, (and nephew) wants to continue the legacy of the family shop - PLEASE let it happen. I realize that todays' world isn't the same, but losing that "flavor" has been a terrible loss for all of those who loved "Pontillo's".

But you never know, the sign may have been uncovered so it could be the "Gioia's" sign was last year on the corner of Ellicott & Liberty. It had been covered up for years by other signs! I was so lucky to be heading to the Southside Deli for lunch that day & had a chance to see it being uncovered. Brought back some great memories. I stayed to watch & it remained there for a couple of days.

I've also seen the activity in the Pontillo's building and hope that it will soon have something that many in Batavia want - that hometown pizza back, that's not burned like many are now with the "microwave pizza ovens" they have now.

Feb 26, 2010, 10:44pm Permalink
Ron C Welker

When you think Pizza in Batavia, "PONTILLOS" is the first name that comes to mind and always will in this household.To many members of our family to mention,worked for Sam and Betty and have nothing but great memories of that period of their lives. I think in many ways the experence, and it was always positive, helped forge the kind of people they would become.
I long for the time I can sit at the light at Harvester Ave and Main St. and have that heavenly smell of hot pizza waffling into my car window.

Feb 27, 2010, 9:33am Permalink
Bob Price

I'm positive that green neon sign was taken down soon after it was covered up after the auction in fall- they were the oldest pizzeria in the city-my brother and sister worked for them when they were in high school.I think the first poster is new to Batavia or too young to remember history of Pontillo's.

Feb 27, 2010, 9:55am Permalink
C. M. Barons

Although I can recall the original Pontillo's located in the former Cary Mansion (torn down along with the rest of historic Batavia), it wasn't until after high school that I had a Pontillo's pizza. Primarily, my father had decidely conservative taste in food and pizza was outside his gastronomic range. Still, when his horizons were widened to include pizza, my mother prepared it from a box labelled Chef Boyardee.

When I was old enough to acquire pizza on my own- it was either Uncle Tony in Brockport or Pizza Landing in LeRoy that did the preparation- both closer to Bergen than Pontillos of Batavia. Eventually, Bergen gained pizza parlors of its own- Ralph and Rosie's deli survived them all.

As for the orginal Pontillos, seeing a pizza sign attached to a grand Greek Revival Mansion was odd. Having a Pontillos in Batavia remains a source of pride in family-owned business and an icon of traditional Batavia; it needs to be restored.

Feb 27, 2010, 4:45pm Permalink

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