A popular Carpentersville pizzeria served up its first orders of Hawaiian and Margherita pizzas Thursday, a week after a lightning strike set the business on fire and forced its temporary closure.
Village Pizza & Pub quietly reopened the carryout portion of the eatery at 4 p.m. The dining room remains closed while the owners begin to repair its walls and ceiling and add lightning rods to the chimney -- all of which sustained fire, smoke or water damage as a result of the attic fire.
Marcie Sarillo, who owns the eatery with her husband, Mike, is thankful they can start serving food again so fast.
"It's just a sense of relief because we really didn't know how long we were going to be closed and we just want our staff to be working," she said.
Twenty five employees, including nine servers and bartenders, were affected. The staff made money a few times last week when they helped with cleanup. They returned to work for good Thursday.
The servers and bartenders still can't work in Carpentersville, but they and the kitchen staff managed to pick up shifts at the Village Pizza in Elgin, Sarillo said.
Village Pizza has been in Carpentersville for 35 years. As part of an expansion, the Sarillos constructed the damaged building three years ago. The Sarillos hope to reopen before Thanksgiving, one of the busiest times of year for the eatery.
Business was a bit slow Thursday.
Within the first 20 minutes of opening staff had only taken two orders and answered one phone call
The first customers of the day were Annette Bozek, 16, and her brother, Alex, 13. Alex saw personnel from eight fire departments and districts battling the flames when he came home from school. His sister learned about it via a friend's text message.
"She was like, 'Village Pizza' is on fire,' and I thought that meant a lot of people were here," she said. "But she meant literally it was on fire."