Dominick's, an Italian restaurant staple, closes quietly

Dominick's Italian Restaurant, a community staple in the Crescenta Valley for more than 40 years, has closed and everything — right down to the light fixtures — has been removed.

There is no sign on the door announcing the closure, but a large tear in the awning over the front door is a tell-tale signal to passersby that the restaurant, known for it pizzas, pasta and beer, is no longer in operation.

The restaurant at 2948 Foothill Blvd. was opened by Frank and Carmela Russo in 1970. They had previously operated several popular eateries in New York. In 1969, though, they sold the businesses and moved to La Crescenta, acquiring Dominick’s shortly thereafter.

Over the years, the Russos hosted many community fundraisers at their restaurant and sponsored dozens of youth sports teams.

After the Russos semi-retired in 2000, their sons, Anthony and Frank Jr., took over Dominick’s, according to the restaurant’s website.

Frank Russo Jr. died from a brain aneurysm in 2009 and the restaurant’s website lists Anthony Russo, who graduated from culinary school and racked up years of cooking experience, as the restaurant’s executive chef and owner.

In August 2010 at about the 40th anniversary of the Russos’ ownership of Dominick’s, Anthony Russo said giving back to the community was important.

“You should always be supporting the community because they are going to be supporting you,” Anthony Russo said. “We have a restaurant in La Crescenta, yes, it's our restaurant. But in a sense, it is not our restaurant, it is the community's restaurant.”

Even back then, however, the Russos said the weak economy was hitting the restaurant hard.

Anthony Russo could not be reached for comment.

-- Mark Kellam, Times Community News

Twitter: @LAMarkKellam

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