The owners of Maria’s Italian Deli in Newhall, past and present, celebrated the restaurant’s reopening Wednesday, following last year’s announcement it would be closing its doors after 47 years.
After the announcement of the restaurant’s pending closure in October, Maria Simione, who opened the original restaurant back in 1973 and still owned the property, expressed her hopes for a “new chapter” and a search for another willing operator to continue to carry on the business.
Co-owners Jonathan Carrillo and Brian Hernandez heard the call and soon knew they couldn’t let the business’ legacy end, they said.
“I’ve been coming here since I was a kid, (and) my son loves to come here, too,” Hernandez said, adding that coming to Maria’s became a Tuesday routine for them. “This place has been dear to my heart.”
For Carrillo, meeting Simione and hearing about the blood, sweat and tears she’d put into the restaurant, as well as the community’s response to the closure, convinced him to get involved.
“People love her,” Hernandez added. “She’s a staple in this community, and it was sad to see her legacy go.”
And it was that legacy Carrillo and Hernandez wanted to uphold, working with Simione and her husband through the entire process to ensure they were getting everything “just right,” including returning its menu to the original recipes that Simione began the restaurant with all those years ago, which she’d inherited from her mother.
“We went through the entire menu and items (sold) in the store with her … and there were no changes made unless approved by Maria — we wanted to make sure it’s perfect,” Carrillo said.
Even many of the staff remain the same, some of whom have been there for 30-plus years.
It was this, along with the food, that former Newhall Paint Store owner Anthony Maric, who’s been coming to the restaurant for 30 years himself, was happy to see return.
“It’s just as good as ever,” Maric said of the food, as he sat down for lunch during the restaurant’s reopening.
While challenging to open the restaurant in the midst of COVID-19, all were excited the time had finally come, including the customers, who filled the dining room on the restaurant’s first day open.
“I’m happy,” Simione said, adding that she put every bit of herself into the restaurant. “It’s a pleasure for it to be Maria’s still. I did a lot of work (through the years), and I enjoyed every minute.”
Maria’s Italian Deli, located at 22620 Lyons Ave. in Newhall, is open 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, though set to be closed Sunday for Mother’s Day. The restaurant is now open limited hours as its owners work to finalize things, with an official reopening celebration and extended hours planned in the coming weeks.