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Willimantic's first pizza palace

Posted By: William Brainard <>
Date: Tuesday, 2 January 2001, at 11:46 p.m.

In the early '50s, probably 1953, my aunt and uncle wanted something different for my mother's birthday. This was before I was born. As I have been told, there was a place called "Danny's" and it sold the here before unseen and unknown food called pizza pies. It was a sensation for northeast Connecticut. Does anyone remember this pizza place in Willimantic? It supposidly was around the old Union Street. My memories go to 10 years later when we would stop on Wednesdays to the old Pizza House where Tyler Square is now and we'd order up 6 small plain pizzas to go. It was a family tradition. It doesn't seem all that long ago until one stops to think we're talking 35+ years back in time. 


Posted By: Robert Thompson <THOMPSON.ROBERT@TUCSON.VA.GOV>
Date: Wednesday, 3 January 2001, at 5:09 p.m.

In Response To: Willimantic's first pizza palace (William Brainard)

I am quite sure this was across the street from where I was brought up. That would be the corner of Union & Jackson St,if you remember Hickey's Drug Store. The pizza palace was exactly on the corner of Jackson St 


Posted By: Joseph Beaulieu <>
Date: Wednesday, 3 January 2001, at 8:16 p.m.

In Response To: Re: Willimantic's first pizza palace (Robert Thompson)

To William Brainard and Robert Thompson-- Wednesday,3 January 2001, at 7:40 p.m.

In answer to William question about the first pizza place the name was Don's pizza. It was located on the right side of Jackson St going towards Valley St. The first store after the intersection of Union St on the right was a small shoe repair shop, then cames Don's pizza after that was Frenchy's tavern.But this was not the first place to sell pizza.If you remember Santa Lucia grinder shop at the intersection of Main and Bridge St or back then called Pop,s grinder Mrs Santa Lucia made pizza in a regular oven in the back of the store.That was about mid 1935 to early 1940 this is from a member of the family. Then around 1946 or 47 a restaurant on Main St between the old post office and the new one called the Italian Garden Resturant started making great pizza till they close up. These facts come from members of both family's which I personly know. It been a pleasure to reminisce with you. Happy New To All.

Joe Beaulieu. 

1 post missing 

Posted By: Tom Brainard
Date: Saturday, 6 January 2001, at 1:28 a.m.

In Response To: Re: Willimantic's first pizza palace (Ernie Gesner)

You folks are rights, and I'm not Nuts!!. Blessed Don's Pizza. Is "Don" still with us??? 


Posted By: Charles
Date: Monday, 8 January 2001, at 3:30 p.m.

In Response To: Re: Willimantic's first pizza palace (Tom Brainard)

Regarding Willimantic's past pizza, pasta and grinder history.....

One of the greatest places in town to eat was The Park Central Hotel on Valley St.(between Bank & North Sts.), circa 1955 -- which had a great Italian restaurant, particularly popular with college students. The place was called The Park Central Restaurant and run by a lady named Philamena (last name??) and her sister.

The place was spartan and clean with rows of tables along the walls....I recall spaghetti (it was called that then) and meatballs for .99 cents.

Anyone remember Mandell's Bakery down near what is now called Henry's Bakery????... Mandells had great pastry and used to sell it to Santa Lucia's...we used to buy donuts for .05 cents at SLs in 1950!! 


Posted By: Armand <>
Date: Sunday, 21 January 2001, at 8:08 a.m.

In Response To: Re: Willimantic's first pizza palace (Charles)

There were two sisters of the Mastrangelo family that ran the Park Central. Best spaghetti in Willimantic..... 


Posted By: Erika <>
Date: Saturday, 24 February 2001, at 10:35 p.m.

In Response To: Re: Willimantic's first pizza palace (Joseph Beaulieu)

Dad, My mom showed me this website and i read what u wrote. I didn't know that my first dad owned a pizza shop? Ha ha ha ha

Love your daughter, Erika