After more than three decades in Bayside, a Chicago-based pizza chain is closing its doors for good.
Signs bearing the name of Uno Pizzeria & Grill were stripped from the restaurant’s facade at 39-02 Bell Blvd. A spokesperson for the store told QNS that the Queens location served its last meals on Sunday, Jan. 26.
Hundreds of the franchise’s fans took to social media, sharing stories of what the restaurant meant to them and the community. Parents recalled taking their children there while others remembered the myriad fundraising efforts Uno’s took part in.
It is unclear why the restaurant’s owners chose to close, but BaysideLiveTV surmised that it was due to complications in renegotiating a lease. Others asserted that owners could not afford the rising cost of rent.
Some have speculated the names of several businesses that might take Uno’s place. But Bayside Village BID President Christine Silletti said that while there are a few businesses interested in opening in its place, “there’s no final deal as of yet.”
“The staff at UNO’s have been great to work with and gave a lot back to this community,” Silletti said.
Prior to closing, the Bayside eatery advertised an earthquake relief effort for Puerto Rico, encouraging diners to bring in items like water bottles, canned food and batteries. A portion of every sale went toward a donation to Puerto Rico.
Uno’s founder Ike Sewell started in Chicago in 1943 with his innovative recipe for deep-dish pizza. The recipe combined “authentic Italian spices,” tomatoes and cheese on a crust with a tall edge.
The Bayside location was one of two locations left in Queens, the other being in Astoria. According to its website, there are 100 locations across the United States, District of Columbia, Honduras, Qatar, India and Saudi Arabia.
In June 2019, the restaurant temporarily closed after the Health Department issued it a failing grade for multiple violations. The agency allowed Uno’s to reopen a few days later.