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  • Columbus LedgerEnquirer

    Iconic Columbus restaurant Deorio’s reopening. New management promises to keep same vibe

    By Sundi Rose,

    23 days ago

    This is not a drill, Columbus. Deorio’s Pizza will open its doors under new management this summer. Plans for an official opening are not finalized as of yet, but the new owners hope it will be “mid to late June.” Rest assured they are working hard to ensure the new restaurant will honor the tradition and legacy of the old place.

    The Ledger spoke with new owner, Bernie Sherr, to get the details of its return and dispel some of the rumors floating around online. Although he and his wife, Stacy, were hoping to keep it under wraps just a little while longer, the rumor mill became too unwieldy to ignore.
    Joe Paull Pepperoni and cheese pizza from Deorio’s.

    Deorio’s has deep connection to Columbus

    Stacy has deep roots to the Columbus area and was born and raised here, while Bernie moved here in 2000. As such, they understand how much Deorio’s has always meant to the community and are adamant to maintain the old vibe of the beloved restaurant.

    Bernie assured the Ledger that their plan is “to create a family-friendly atmosphere (like the old Deorio’s) where people love to come hang out, relax after work or celebrate special occasions.”

    Customers will find some familiar aspects to the new spot

    In fact, Bernie and Stacy have made plans to incorporate some of the original recipes alongside the new ones and even have plans to re-hire some of the employees that used to work there. He was reluctant to say more about the employees, but teases, “When it comes to the employees, we would like to keep it a surprise. However; we do have a couple of well known ones returning.”

    Additionally, the pair wants to keep the new place in midtown so they looked for spots close to the previous location as a way to honor the nostalgia the old Deorio’s holds. Bernie assured us the decision to reboot it came out of love and he says, “We decided we wanted to open up another Deorio’s because there was such a great community following and wanted for it to come back. We often find ourselves talking to friends and family about what a great place it was.”

    Columbus has feelings about the return

    Bernie says they “wanted to keep the restaurant as close to the old Deorio’s as possible, so we chose the old CiCis building on Auburn Ave. This location will give us more room to incorporate more seating, a game room for kids and a stage for live music.”

    Taking on a cultural institution has its drawbacks and challenges. People are having a varied reaction to the return. People commenting in the Columbus Ga FOODIES have a lot to say about the return. A post reading, “They say it’s [Deorio’s] coming back” has received 181 comments (and growing).
    ROBIN TRIMARCHI A Ford SUV crashed through a front window of DeOrio’s restaurant at Cross Country Plaza in April. The locally-owned restaurant, a longtime Columbus staple, re-opened in May. 04.11.15 ROBIN TRIMARCHI/

    “We miss Willy.”

    The reactions to the original post have been mixed, to say the least. Some are concerned about the integrity of the institution, and others are just happy to have it back. However, an overwhelming number of the comments mention the absence of the beloved pizza chef and manager, Willy Patterson.
    William “Willy” Patterson was the pizza chef and manager of Deorio’s Pizza Inn in Columbus, Georgia for 36 years. Deorio’s closed in 2017 Robin Trimarchi/Ledger-Enquirer file photo

    Willy Patterson worked at Deorio’s for 36 years and most people don’t have a memory of the eatery without him. He was known for his welcoming demeanor and his affability, and embodied what people loved most about the restaurant.

    His daughter, Candice Wenner spoke about the Deorio’s tradition carrying on. She says, “It’s bitter-sweet for our family. In a way, it’s honoring the memory of our dad in the best way” Candice is “elated” that Bernie and Stacy plan to use some of the old recipes.

    She, like many of the Deorio’s patrons, is optimistic saying, “Even though it’s not going to be the original Deorio’s in the original building, there will still be remnants of what it was and that is special to us. We look forward to walking in and seeing some familiar faces and smelling familiar smells when they have their grand opening.”

    She’s not alone in this sentiment. Let me know how you feel about Deorio’s return or share your favorite dish and memory.

    Sound off in the comments, or you can email me or find me on Instagram .

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