Friday, May 25, 2018
Business

Castellano & Pizzo Italian market closes after 120 years in Tampa

TAMPA — A local institution that began as a corner grocery serving Italian and Cuban immigrants in Ybor City has closed after 120 years.

Castellano & Pizzo went out of business this month at Henderson Boulevard and Lois Avenue in South Tampa, its home since the mid 1980s.

Paul Castellano Sr., who still owns the building at 4200 Henderson Blvd., said the current tenants, Robert and Mandy Pallone, saw sales decline and couldn't keep the store going.

"I was just as surprised as anyone,'' he said Wednesday. "The whole family was disappointed. We thought they would stay open through the holidays because we always did a phenomenal business this time of year.''

Castellano and his wife, Jackie, leased the Italian market to the Pallones in 2010 after more than a century in family hands. At the time of the change, he said the market was the oldest, surviving independent business in Tampa.

Castellano's great-grandparents opened the store in 1892 on Eighth Avenue and 18th Street in a small building with a horse stable. The store expanded to South Tampa's Palma Ceia neighborhood in the '80s and, a few years later, the Ybor location closed.

The gourmet market has catered to generations of Tampa residents looking for authentic Italian meats, cheeses, desserts and prepared foods. Its wine tastings and lunch buffet and salad bar were big draws.

Lifelong customers like Marty Peate, 44, considered its closure a huge loss for a community like Tampa that's so defined by its cuisine.

"We're adamant about our food and local heritage,'' he said. "It's not like Chick-fil-A or Wendy's closing. It's sad to see it go. You can't go to Publix and get what you get when you walk through the aisles of Castellano's.''

Peate went for the Cuban sandwiches, sausages and sweets. He liked the mom-and-pop, nostalgic atmosphere not found at chain grocery stores.

Within its walls, hundreds of people learned Italian. Roberto Alvarez taught Italian classes at the market for about six years until the Pallones took over. Students ate lasagna and cannoli as they learned about the Colosseum in Rome and practiced saying mangia (eat).

Alvarez was shopping at Mazzaro's Italian Market — St. Petersburg's version of Castellano's — when he heard about the closing. He was disappointed but not surprised. "I watched the decline,'' he said.

The Pallones discovered the market while vacationing in St. Pete Beach. Someone there recommended they try Castellano's and, soon after, they bought it. Mandy Pallone described it as a "beautiful business'' and said they had no plans to change it.

A sign posted on the door this week said the market is "closed until further notice,'' and the phone was disconnected. The Pallones, who live in Madeira Beach, could not be reached for comment.

Castellano said he has received several inquiries about taking over the space, either as an Italian market or something else. At 71, he has no plans to reopen it himself.

On Christmas Eve, the Castellanos changed the marquee:

"Thank you Tampa for 120 years. Merry Christmas.''

Susan Thurston can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 225-3110.

Comments
Fiat Chrysler recalls 4.8 million cars, warning owners: Donít use the cruise control

Fiat Chrysler recalls 4.8 million cars, warning owners: Donít use the cruise control

Associated PressDETROIT ó Fiat Chrysler is recalling 4.8 million vehicles in the U.S. because in rare but terrifying circumstances, drivers may not be able to turn off the cruise control. The company is warning owners not to use cruise control until...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Federal Reserve chairman warns his agency must be free from political pressure

Federal Reserve chairman warns his agency must be free from political pressure

Associated PressFederal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warned Friday that the Fedís independence from political pressure must be respected if it is to succeed in controlling inflation, maximizing employment and regulating the financial system. His re...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Restaurants like Ford’s Garage use the experience to get you in the door

Restaurants like Ford’s Garage use the experience to get you in the door

Tim Butler’s first car was a Ford Model A pick-up truck — a pearl fawn and cherry red pick-up he got his senior year in high school from his dad, who renovates antique cars. That’s why as Butler waited for a table at the Ford’...
Updated: 2 hours ago
St. Petersburg man fined $507,513 in penny stock scheme

St. Petersburg man fined $507,513 in penny stock scheme

TAMPA ó A St. Petersburg man was fined $507,513 and permanently barred from participating in the offering of a penny stock in a case involving a scheme to manipulate the price of Aureus, a penny stock company incorporated in Nevada, officials said Fr...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Broadcomís CEO tops highest-paid list with a $103 million payout

Broadcomís CEO tops highest-paid list with a $103 million payout

Times staff and wiresNEW YORK ó Chief executives at the biggest public companies got an 8.5 percent raise last year, bringing the median pay package for CEOs to $11.7 million. Across the S&P 500, compensation for CEOs is often hundreds of times highe...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Denis Phillips, hurricane season guru, talks his signature beer, suspenders and Rule #7

Denis Phillips, hurricane season guru, talks his signature beer, suspenders and Rule #7

SAFETY HARBOR ó Denis Phillips cracks a pop-top and pulls a can that looks a lot like him to his lips."Itís got that citrusy feel to it," he says. "Which is a Florida thing. Thatís not bad." Indeed, thereís a grapefruit finish to Rule #7 Hurricane Sa...
Updated: 7 hours ago
At Pinellas Parkís iconic model train store, an ownership change goes off the rails

At Pinellas Parkís iconic model train store, an ownership change goes off the rails

PINELLAS PARK ó The iconic model train store that has sat at U.S. 19 and Haines Road for close to 30 years announced on its website it will be moving to another location."Itís difficult trying to stock a store thatís bigger than the reality is these ...
Published: 05/25/18
Behind the deal: $52 million boutique hotel coming to Ybor City started with cafe con leche at La Tropicana Cafe

Behind the deal: $52 million boutique hotel coming to Ybor City started with cafe con leche at La Tropicana Cafe

TAMPA ó Joe Capitano Sr. invested in the 1400 block of E Seventh Avenue in 1985, never doubting the huge potential of the property for Ybor City.But the deal to build a $52 million boutique hotel on the site didnít start to come together until six ye...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Tampa Electric to shut down Big Bend coal unit that killed 5

Tampa Electric to shut down Big Bend coal unit that killed 5

APOLLO BEACH ó Tampa Electric Co. is taking a big step away from coal. The Tampa-based utility is spending $853 million to convert its coal-fired Unit 1 at its Big Bend Power Station to natural gas and retire coal-fired Unit 2 in 2021.Five workers di...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Sprouts Farmers Market to open new store in Riverview

Sprouts Farmers Market to open new store in Riverview

RIVERVIEW ó Sprouts Farmers Market is opening a new location in Riverview, the chain announced Thursday. The new store will be located at Summerfield Crossing Shopping Center, though Sprouts did not have a specific opening date.The announcement comes...
Published: 05/24/18