Vito's Pizza and Beer to return thanks to former employee
Vito's Pizza and Beer bid a sad farewell in the fall of 2020, yet another small business that fell victim to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But one former employee couldn't stand to see it go.
Eighteen months later, the iconic York County business is poised to make a triumphant return. The pizza place is now expected to reopen in April of this year, bringing back what had been an institution in Spring Garden Township.
"It meant so much to so many people," new co-owner David Kopp said. "It gives them something to look forward to; it's good news."
Kopp, who worked at Vito's from 1995 to 2010 and will be co-owning with a partner, found himself inspired to purchase the property from the former owners after the restaurant closed in October 2020.
That journey began on Labor Day 2021, when he reached out to former co-owner Nick Spagnola regarding the property.
"I want to reopen Vito's as Vito's," Kopp remembered telling Spagnola.
The liquor license has been officially transferred, and the settlement part of the sale is set for March 31. That clears the path for Vito's to open in early April.
"I knew the historical importance of Vito's," Kopp said. "I know what it meant to everybody, and I couldn't just let it die. I didn't want it to go away."
Vito's had closed, citing the financial turmoil of closures related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kopp said patrons of the newly reopened restaurant at 1734 S. Queen St. can expect everything to remain the same: recipes, the menu and the atmosphere. The majority of the full-time staff is returning as well.
While they've done some painting and touching up, no major renovations were needed at the location. Kopp said they've been detailing things and cleaning the floors in preparation for opening, as well as conducting maintenance on equipment.
"It's reopening as it's closed and everything's staying the same," he said.
People are excited about the reopening, Kopp said.
"It's the place to go — it's where you went and what you did after track meets, after swim meets, after football games, after basketball games. That's how I grew up there, that's what I worked there as a part of and that's what I remembered," he said.
Indeed, the restaurant's name still carries weight with the community, despite being gone for more than a year.
"Every supplier I've worked with the past two months," Kopp said, "as soon as I say the name their whole attitude and tone changes and they're so excited to have it come back."
— Reach Matt Enright via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter at @Matthew_Enright.