BELLAIRE - Lil' Gerardo's has moved to a larger and more nostalgic location in downtown Bellaire.
Lil' Gerardo's is now located at 3393 Belmont St., as the doors to its newly renovated space opened on Oct. 2, 2013.
Lil' Gerardo's owners Lisa and Todd Vinka wanted to own rather then rent. The new building they are was once a pizza shop as well.
"There has been no life in here for so long," said Lori. "People come in and say how great it is to see lights on."
Lil' Gerardo's business has grown since moving locations and Lori feels that it is due to the building and location.
"This building is nostalgic for most people, they remember it being a pizza shop and a bakery on the other side and Hap's Bar ... We get a lot of compliments," said Lori. "We want to invest in Bellaire, this is where we are from here and my children were raised here."
Lori has wanted their current building before it was ever up for sale and went as far as to track down the previous owner.
When the building was finally up for sale, Lori and Todd, with the help of her parents, Doris and Jerry Ciofani, were able to purchase the building.
"It was a lot of work and we closed (on this building) on our one year anniversary," said Lori.
Both Lori and Todd were overwhelmed by the condition of the building but saw the potential that was there.
"I am tired of driving through town and seeing all the empty and dilapidate buildings and so are a lot of people. I was raised if you don't like something, then do something about it, don't just complain, be active," said Lori."
With that they closed Lil' Gerardo's on July 11 and were moved into their newly renovated location by Oct. 2.
The construction work was done by Lori's brother, Rocky Ciofani, owner of Cio Construction. Cio Construction also donates $20,000 worth of labor to the Habitat for Humanity.
Lori could not be more thankful for her brother's help in this project. Not only was there trash left by previous occupants, overall, there was a lot of work.
According to Lori, Rocky would not take short cuts, he wanted everything done right the first time.
There are plans to make more renovation to the building and bring in more business. Bev's moved in next door in mid-October.
"We are very excited about the new location and are trying to bring quality businesses into Bellaire. There is a lot going on (in Bellaire) and we are proud to be a part of it," said Lori.
Lil' Gerardo's is open Tuesday - Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. There number is 671-9550. For information on Cio Construction, please call (614) 374-8100.
Van Dyne can be reached at email@example.com.