MONTROSE, Pa. -- Two months after a fire destroyed a popular pizza joint in Susquehanna County, Original Italian Pizza is back in business in Montrose and the owners couldn't be more thankful to be doing what they love.
Max Amato tosses pizzas at his family-run restaurant in Montrose, something he hasn't been able to do since early January.
Flames ripped through Original Italian Pizza and Restaurant back in January. With the building destroyed, the Amato family was determined to stay in business whatever it took.
"Just like that like I said at the beginning, I felt like I lost one of my kids," Max Amato said.
The restaurant opened up shop on Grow Avenue. It's a smaller space but enough to keep churning out lunches and dinners for customers who've missed it.
"Very hard to swallow, it's a blessing they opened up this, it's our first time here," Jason Ramsay said.
"We were all counting the days until this place opened. We're back together now and stronger than before," said Toni Amato.
After more than 20 years in business in pretty much the heart of Montrose, OIP was destroyed. There's nothing left of it, but the owners plan to rebuild in this spot and hope to open as early as July.
"I believe in two to three weeks, we'll break ground, hopefully, July be open. of course, I'd be open tomorrow," Max said.
All 23 employees have to rotate schedules so everyone gets some work, and eventually, Amato plans to open a diner here, when Original Italian Pizza is back in its original spot.
"The best thing to see is customers coming back, just being involved in the pizzeria and seeing a connection with the people."
Original Italian Pizza opened last week and will have the same hours and menu.
Construction on the new restaurant should start soon and be open by summer.