Lorenzo and Sons Pizza vows to rebuild

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The fire marshal still hasn't ruled on the cause of Wednesday's fire that left a South Philadelphia pizza landmark in ruins.

Giuseppe "Joe" Pulizzi was overcome with emotion as he read a note left by a customer outside the burnt remains of his family's business.

It said "Get Well Soon. We love you. Philly."

Lorenzo and Sons Pizza, a South Street mainstay since 1988, was heavily damaged by a fire Wednesday morning.

"My cleaning guy, he was doing maintenance, when he turned on the exhaust, something inside of it ignited," said Pulizzi.

Pulizzi's father, Lorenzo, who started the business, is recovering from surgery in Florida. Firefighters had to cut through his portrait on the front of the shop to vent the blaze.

"I've been here since I was 14 years old, I was basically raised here," said Pulizzi. "It was more to me than just a business."

The storefront's been boarded up. I spoke with one of the restoration workers. He said the inside is "burnt to a crisp." He said just about the only thing intact is the floors.

Lorenzo's was known for staying open well into the early mornings and selling giant slices for about three bucks.

It served only cheese pizza, no toppings. And customers who didn't know that might get a tongue-lashing, or find themselves on the street with no pizza at all.

"A lot of places aren't open late," said Danny Grant of North Philadelphia. "And when you go to a club on South Street and you want something to eat after, it's a good place to stop."

"It's like the deal on South St. when you don't have a lot of money, you can always go to Lorenzo's and get one of those big slices of pizza," said Makeda Byrd of West Philadelphia.

"I was hoping it would be open!" said Justin Pina of Grays Ferry. "I don't see nothing else in sight where I can eat something cheap."

Pulizzi promises to rebuild as quickly as possible.

"We're definitely going to come back," he said.

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