By Jonathan Phelps firstname.lastname@example.org
---- — ANDOVER — A staple downtown pizza shop has closed after 40 years in town, but a Thai restaurant will soon take its place.
The dining options continue to grow in the downtown area with a number of new eateries expected to open soon, including a full-scale Salvatore’s Italian restaurant and Pizza Connection on Park Street.
If you’re looking for Italian cookies and other pastries to go with your pizza, drop by Fisichelli’s Pastry Shop on Main Street, which officially opened on Saturday next to the Chic Consignment shop. This will be the well-known Lawrence bakery’s second store.
Owner Nina Fisichelli Gaffny said she is excited to open the second store in town after months of renovations to the small shop at 46 Main St.
“The response has been overwhelming,” she said. “My phone in Lawrence has been ringing off the hook with people asking me, ‘Are you open, are you open.’”
My Brother’s Pizza Place on Post Office Avenue closed in August, but the Pizza Connection is slated to open soon on Park Street — where Domino’s Pizza was located before moving across the street to Park Street Village.
One Thong Chai Thai Bistro will soon open in the former My Brother’s spot.The property is owned by local dentist David Samuels, state Sen. Barry Finegold and real estate agent Scott Jamieson.
The bistro opened its first location in Fitchburg in March of 2012. The new restaurant will offer a variety of favorite dishes from Thailand, prepared with the leanest possible cuts of beef, poultry or pork and delicately balanced with vegetables, herbs and spices, according to owner Apple Tomamichel, a Methuen resident.
Tomamichel hopes the restaurant will be open by the holiday season.
“I am so thrilled to be opening a second location in downtown Andover, which has always been my dream,” Tomamichel said. “The town and the local ownership have been so welcoming. We offer friendly service and excellent Thai food in a pleasant authentic environment.”
Last year, the Zoning Board signed off on a plan to block off four parking spaces to create outdoor dining in front of the My Brother’s spot and at Yella Grille next door.
“Our goal from the beginning was to create a restaurant row, we now have three great restaurants that will complement one another, brasserie 28, Yella and One Thong Chai Bistro,” Samuels said.
Back at the Pizza Connection, the outdoor sign has been installed but the owners are waiting for the final inspections by town officials before opening, according to Joe O’Leary, one of the three owners. The restaurant’s motto is: “Great food, prompt delivery and service with a smile.”
O’Leary said the shop will offer take out and delivery only and the menu will include subs, fried food and hand-tossed, thin crust and deep dish pizza.
“We are trying to bring the local business back to downtown Andover,” O’Leary said. “There are plenty of chains and the local guys seem to be falling by the wayside.”
O’Leary and co-owners, Ryan O’Leary and Jeff Wise, all have previously worked at the Domino’s, he said. Between the three of them they have over 40 years experience of making and delivering food.
The phone number to My Brother’s Pizza Place has been forwarded to Captain Pizza on Route 114 in North Andover. An employee there said he “had no idea” why My Brother’s closed. Charles Eliopoulos, the owner of My Brother’s, could not be reached for comment.
At Andover Village Square on Main Street, Mad Maggie’s Ice Cream and Pink Tree Sweets, a cupcake bakery, are also expected to open in the coming months.