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Uncle Mario’s Brick Oven Pizza on the corner of 9th Avenue and W50th Street has closed its doors after 15 years. Owner Mario Abitino told us today high rents meant that he shuttered the popular Hell’s Kitchen pizzeria.

Uncle Mario’s Pizza being stripped of its fixtures this afternoon. All Photos: Phil O’Brien.

“The rent is unreasonable. It’s $28,000 per month. The tourists aren’t coming back at the moment — and I’ve just been working to pay the landlord. It’s not worth it,” Abitino said as he watched the store being dismantled this afternoon.

The closed sign went up at the weekend and an auction took place of all the fixtures and fittings which were being moved out today. Workers could be seen dismantling the outdoor dining, painting over signs and removing furniture.

Uncle Mario’s reopened in June last year after closing at the start of the pandemic.

Abitino told us his restaurant had not managed to get the Restaurant Relief Fund (RRF). Over 160 local restaurants did get RRF grants of over $137 million — but the majority of bars and restaurants received no federal money. During the pandemic, he also had to close the Abitino Pizzeria on 10th Avenue — one of over 50 Hell’s Kitchen businesses to shutter.

“Thank you to all of the Hell’s Kitchen locals who have supported Uncle Mario’s for the past 15 years,” he told us. “We’re looking around for another location in the area. We’ll be back.” Uncle Mario’s featured in W42ST Best Hell’s Kitchen Pizza list.

Abitino continues to operate other restaurants around New York under the Lobo Loco and Abitino brands.

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10 Comments

  1. oh no!! I was wondering what was up when I tried to order the other day and it had showed up as closed. gah, another one 🙁

  2. Move to Hudson Heights. I’ve yet to find great pizza up here. And rents have to be cheaper.

  3. Best pizza in Hell’s Kitchen. I loved bring my grandchildren in there the waitress Carmela was the BEST!!!

  4. I know landlords have costs to pay but sometimes the level of rents suggests greed. I have never been able to see the sense in “no rent is better than a reduced rent”. Farewell Marios.

  5. Very sad! Loved them. I hope they find a new great spot in the neighborhood soon. We ordered pizza pies from them for every celebration at home over the years. My children loved stopping in to see Carmela she treated them like family.

  6. They haven’t been there 15 years. Also, i used to love this place but they let it fall on its face. You’d stand at the counter for ages before they’d stop talking to each other to take your order. I’ll miss the old Italian lady there that calls everyone bello or Bella, but their pizza business was dead in the water long before Covid. Want decent pizza check the food court on 11th ave. You’ll see the difference.

  7. This was my cousin’s family’s business they have been a part of NY restaurant business for decades. They tried so hard to stay afloat without patrons and without employees and to pay the employees that stayed. My heart goes out to the patrons who came to know my family as family and to my family to whom the loss of this restaurant is like losing family. The Abitinos are strong and will be back when NY is back.

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