MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. – Despite more than 22 years of great pizza and a reputation as a birthday party hangout in Mount Kisco, Bellizzi is making changes to keep its current customers – and hopefully find new ones.
Bellizzi's "game room" was shut down and closed off in June and consolidated into the rest the restaurant as a result of its lease agreement, General Manger Natalie Swatz said.
However, Swatz said the decline in business began well before the change in the restaurant’s arcade décor, most notably after Borders, located across the street, closed in Sept. 2011.
“Nothing has been the same since Borders shutdown,” Swatz said. “And we’re not alone. This whole side of the business district has felt its void.”
To spark new interest, Bellizzi recently introduced a whole new “do it yourself” salad bar and a “do it yourself” pizza option, in which the pizza is brought to the table ready to be customized with whatever toppings those eating it choose.
“We don’t want the game room closure to be misinterpreted,” Swatz said. “Bellizzi, and its games, are still here and we have a lot to offer to the community. We’re still a great place for a child to have their birthday party or family to spend its Friday or Saturday night.”
Swatz said she is making an effort to bring back the type of entertainment and family fun that Bellizzi built its reputation on, including upcoming performances from Scoott Kazan, "the Balloon man," Friday, Oct. 11 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., “Bindlestick Bill” on Friday, Oct. 19 at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m., and the “Ballooniac” on Friday Oct. 26.
“We have to reimagine and rethink everything Bellizzi stands for,” she said. “Our motto these days is ‘Rediscover Bellizzi.’”
Swatz said that, ironically, some of Bellizzi’s struggles come from its popularity. She suspects that many residents of the community have become so use to having the storied restaurant as part of the business district, that it forgets it is still a “small business.”
“I really want to make a push to people to know that – hey – we’re a small business too,” she said. “Sometimes I get the feeling people just assume Bellizzi will always be here know matter what, but that’s not the case."
Swatz added that she is confident in Bellizzi’s product and staff, all of which are excited about the business’s future.
“We are all in this together and all have an interest in making Bellizzi a better place for everyone and for seeing that we continue to be here for another 25 years,” she said.
To see changes to Bellizzi’s menu and its upcoming events, visit its website.
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