Rising from the ashes
December 1, 2009
Nearly four months after a fire destroyed Williamsburg’s local Italian restauran, Sal’s by Victor reopened at a temporary location Nov. 21.
For the 35 years before the fire, Sal’s had closed only on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Owner Victor Minichiello said community support for the restaurant’s return was overwhelming.
“It was a beautiful thing,” Minichiello said. “It’s been incredible. We have the same food, and we have the same people coming. Just incredible.”
The June 28 fire at the original Sal’s location in the Williamsburg Shopping Center destroyed the restaurant and damaged several adjacent businesses. The restaurant has reopened for the time being at the former location of at Scala Pizzeria and Tavern on Richmond Road.
“We opened up at 1425 Richmond Road temporarily, where Scala’s used to be,” Minichiello said. “It’s very close to IHOP, and just across from High Street.”
Although he had moved his restaurant to a different location for the first time in over three decades, Minichiello said the reopening was gratifying.
“It was like a baby,” he said. “You waited for four months for the stork to come, and we finally get it when [Sal’s] reopens. It was incredible.”
The restaurant’s change of scene has not affected its ambiance.
“We were the first place to open for people at the College of William and Mary 35 years ago, and we appreciate everything the community has done for us,” Minichiello said. “But everything’s going to stay the same. We’ve got all the same stuff, the same food, everything.”
Minichiello hopes to move back to the more familiar location by the spring.
“This location is just temporary,” Minichiello said. “They gave me my old place back, so we’ll go back to the old place in the Williamsburg Shopping Center in the spring when it’s ready.”