Suffern staple Marcello's Restaurant to close after serving community for 37 years
A Suffern Italian restaurant is about to close its doors for good.
Marcello Russodivito, the owner of Marcello's Restaurant on Lafayette Avenue, announced his retirement after 37 years.
Russodivito opened the restaurant in 1986 to become a popular place for business events and parties.
Russodivito says every time he was about to retire, a crisis would happen that would delay that retirement.
"We're not closing because of lack or business or anything because we can survive anything," he says.
Russodivito says his restaurant was peaking in 2008 and he wanted to retire then, but the economic collapse hurt his business badly that he stayed in it and rebuilt it. Then, as he was planning to retire in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic happened.
"It really hit really hard," Russodivito recalls.
He delayed his retirement once again to keep his long-time, loyal staff financially afloat.
Now he has finally accepted an offer from someone to buy the property and make it a different restaurant.
Bartender Gena Gordeeva isn't worried about her future. She says she's learned so much there and plans to make a big career move.
"With the knowledge I mentioned in Marcello's Restaurant, I'm seeing myself maybe a little bit higher step," she says.
Loyal customers like Susan Brooker are going to hold on to memories. Her company held its annual holiday party at the restaurant for the last time.
"We've had many, many wonderful events here. He's going to be missed very much," she says.
Russodivito still plans to sell his products in local stores, do consulting for other restaurants and organize tours of Italy. He may be retiring but he is not slowing down.
"Also, I probably will participate with some charity organizations. If I have time, why not?" Russodivito says.
Marcello's Restaurant will close its doors for good on Dec. 30.
After closing, Russodivito will do one more thing for his customers. For two weeks in January, he will hold family-style dinners for the community for $19.86, the price being the year he opened the restaurant.