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Andiamo Sterling Heights to close permanently

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

Say "addio" and "arrivederci" to Andiamo's Sterling Heights restaurant, which will have its last service Sunday. 

Located just outside Lakeside Mall, the restaurant is serving carryout only through Sunday, including buy one, get one free entrees. 

A lasagna from Andiamo Italia.

The exit isn't a huge surprise, since Andiamo owner Joe Vicari sold the property two or three years ago, he said, and was leasing it from the current owner. His plans are to look elsewhere in that area for a new restaurant later this year. 

Vicari said he believes the space will become a Portillo's, a popular chain of Chicago hot dogs and Italian beef sandwiches. When reached earlier in 2020, representatives for Portillo's forwarded a statement from senior vice president of marketing and off-premise dining Nick Scarpino that said while the company was exploring new locations, they had nothing to announce in regards to a Sterling Heights restaurant. 

The News has reached out to Portillo's for an updated statement. 

"My understanding is they're going to knock the building down and put a drive-thru in, but it will be a full-service restaurant, so they needed to get in," said Vicaro. "I was trying to negotiate to stay to the end of the year but then this all came about, the pandemic, so it just sort of screwed everything up." 

His hope is to stay in the Sterling Heights area and open another restaurant, although it may not be an Andiamo. 

"We're looking actively and we have a couple locations that we have identified, one on Hall Road and one north of Hall Road that we would look to put a new restaurant there," he said. "We're looking more for a family-orientated restaurant, lower price point, pizza, not a typical Andiamo." 

Vicari said the businesses in his restaurant group — including seven other Andiamo spots and Joe Muer Seafood in downtown Detroit and Bloomfield Hills — are being monitored as the first few weeks of restaurant reopenings roll out. 

"We know this is only the first week, I think people are still a little apprehensive to come into restaurants. Surprisingly our downtown Joe Muer restaurant, which we thought was going to be really slow because nobody's downtown, no sporting events, no concerts ... we were worried about this store, but this week it had a good week."

Because the summer months are typically slower for the restaurant business as a rule, Vicari said he won't know until the year's fourth quarter if they'll really bounce back or not.

"Come October, November, December if I'm not seeing a lot of holiday parties booked, then I know this is a lasting effect." he said. 

Andiamo Sterling Heights will be open for carryout online through Sunday at 14425 Lakeside Circle. Call (586) 532-8800 or visit andiamoitalia.com.

mbaetens@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @melodybaetens