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After nearly two decades of serving ravioli, gnocchi and other Italian favorites, Andiamo has closed its downtown Royal Oak location. 

Owner Joe Vicari cites lack of parking and lease issues as the reasons for the closure, adding "our hand was forced." But Royal Oak Mayor Michael Fournier shot back in an email Sunday and said Andiamo's closing had "nothing to do with parking and landlords, but perhaps everything to do with the product." 

Vicari blames the city's response to a crowded downtown. 

"The city of Royal Oak has taken away 100 percent of the restaurant’s parking as well as our patron’s ability to valet park their cars which has severely impacted our business," Vicari said in a statement. "This coupled with our landlord’s unwillingness to restructure our lease has made it impossible for us to stay in business in Royal Oak."

More: Downtown parking rates in Royal Oak going up

Last month, the Royal Oak City Commission voted to raise the parking rate at its lots, streets and garages. 

In supporting the hike, commissioners and other city leaders cited the money raised in the rate hike to support the parking system as well steering drivers to a newly opened parking deck instead of street or lot parking.

Fournier said there are over 1,00 parking spots within a block of the restaurant and that the city didn't take away his parking. "It was a municipal lot."  Fournier also pointed out that Vicari mentioned sales have been down 25 percent for the past couple years, which is before changes in the parking were made. 

"I wish Mr. Vicari the best of luck and hopefully he can find a outer-suburban strip mall with an oasis of parking that suits his business model better," Fournier wrote. "In the meantime, Royal Oakers remain excited about what’s going on in our flourishing, relevant and growing paradise."

The restaurant said in a press release said the eatery, which was located at 129 S. Main for 19 years, will try to find jobs for all the employees of the Royal Oak location at other Andiamo restaurants. 

"We are deeply saddened to close Andiamo Trattoria in Royal Oak after being a part of the community for almost two decades," Vicari said. "We wish to thank all our customers and the community for supporting us for so many years. We’ve loved serving this community and wish we could have stayed here. We warmly welcome all of our Royal Oak patrons to any of our other Andiamo Locations.”

The Joe Vicari Restaurant Group has seven Andiamo restaurants in Metro Detroit, two Joe Muer locations plus other restaurants. 

This fall Andiamo will branch out to Genesee County with the opening of a restaurant on the first floor of the Horizon Building at Silver Lake Road and North Leroy in downtown Fenton. 

mbaetens@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @melodybaetens

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