Nicola Pizza to move from Rehoboth Beach after almost 50 years
Nicola Pizza, a Rehoboth Beach institution for almost 50 years, is closing both of its current locations and moving to Lewes, the restaurant announced on Facebook Sunday afternoon.
"Please know that this was not an easy decision — to leave the home we have loved for so long — but an amazing opportunity has presented itself and we simply could not pass it up," the post reads.
Both locations — the original on North First Street and the two-story bar and restaurant on the avenue — will stay open until the grand opening of the new restaurant at the Ocean One Plaza on Route 1 in Lewes in fall 2021.
Nicholas Caggiano Sr., the son of Italian immigrants, and his wife, Joan, opened Nicola Pizza in 1971. It became known for the Nic-o-Boli, a cross between a calzone and a stromboli with ground beef and pizza sauce inside.
Almost from the beginning, lines stretched out the door of the First Street restaurant. From wooden booths, diners hear the hum of a toy train circling above them as they wait for their greasy beach pizza. Their eyes are drawn to the memorabilia and news clippings that leave barely an inch of the restaurant's interior bare.
In 2010, Nicola Pizza opened a second larger location with a sports bar overlooking the avenue. The menu features the same tried and true Nic-o-bolis and pizza, which Delaware Online/The News Journal readers voted the second best in the First State last year.
Nicholas Caggiano Sr., 83, and his son Nick Jr. oversee daily operations at both locations. Joan, who regularly greeted diners at the original location, died in 2017.
The coronavirus pandemic has hampered many beach businesses that rely on foot traffic during the summer months for most of their income. In its Facebook post, Nicola Pizza did not say whether the pandemic influenced their decision to move.
Nicola Pizza closed its restaurants at least once due to a surge in coronavirus cases in Sussex County, and several restaurants and businesses at the Delaware beaches have had difficulty with staffing.
In an interview with Delaware Online/The News Journal earlier this summer, Caggiano compared the virus lockdown and its potential effects to his time as a young boy growing up in southern New Jersey.
"I just feel that we’re in a different country," he said.
This is a developing story.
Contact Brandon Holveck at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @holveck_brandon.