WALLINGFORD — Stella Pizza on Route 5 has closed “until further notice.”
The restaurant, at 11 S. Colony Rd., has received an outpouring of support from residents upset at the closing. On the restaurant’s website, owner Cindy Fiorentino explained “unfortunate circumstances” caused them to close.
“Thank you to everyone who has loved and supported my business and I for over 30 years, I will cherish those memories forever,” Fiorentino wrote on August 10.
The post has generated over 200 comments and nearly 300 likes.
One community member created a GoFundMe with an original goal of collecting $35,000 to help “turn things around and bring Stella Pizza back to the community.”
The GoFundMe page says business financial loss caused Fiorentino to “get behind on taxes.” The IRS is not legally permitted to discuss specific taxpayers and declined request for comment. The restaurant does have a current Sales and Use Permit, according to the Department of Revenue Services.
Stella Pizza declined the Record-Journal’s request for comment this week.
The campaign raised more than $4,000 as of Friday.
Over the years, Stella Pizza has been the site of numerous charity events and fundraisers. They participated in taste competitions, sponsored a girls softball league team, and had a cub scout pack visit to learn how to make pizza.
“Stella's had been there for decades, its a bit of a Wallingford institution,” said Tim Ryan, economic development director. He said from an economic standpoint and as a customer himself, he’d like to see them re-open.
In 2009, Stella Pizza hosted a revival of the Cops Against Cancer dinner night after local officer James Carney lost his mother to brain cancer. Officers helped prepare food, served as waiters and waitresses and persuaded patrons to “tip well for a good cause.”
At the time, Fiorentino said the cause hit close to home, as her own mother and father-in-law died of cancer.
She told the Record-Journal at the time that those losses had only strengthened her bond with members of the police department’s Relay for Life team and convinced her to remain focused and find a way to prevent other families from suffering the same fate.