Little Italy's Elio Pizzeria damaged by fire

Photo by Patrick Lejtenyi

A Little Italy family restaurant suffered significant damage due to an early morning fire Thursday.

Elio Pizzeria on Bellechasse and Drolet is a 50-year-old, family-owned and family-run restaurant and a neighbourhood institution.

An employee who was working in the restaurant as a cleaner described seeing a fireball in the kitchen and service area just after 4 a.m.

He quickly called 911 and firefighters had the situation under control within a couple of hours.

Another employee, longtime waiter Rocco Moscatiello, lives nearby. He says the restaurant is a popular mainstay.

"It' been around since March 7, 1964 and everybody knows the restaurant," he says. "The founder is very active in the community, supports lots of great causes for kids and everybody. It's always been here."

Despite the damage, the family vows to re-open the restaurant. Some are hoping to see it re-open its doors within a few days.

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