Bronx staple for Italian food Yolanda’s to close for 2-year construction

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SOUTH BRONX -

A staple Italian restaurant near The Hub in the South Bronx is about a week away from closing before starting the next chapter in its history.

Neil Calisi came to the Bronx from Ponza, Italy in 1955 when his father opened up Yolanda's, named after his mother in 1960.

Fifty-nine years later, Yolanda’s is still on 149th Street giving customers the authentic Italian experience.

Despite its success and loyal customers, the restaurant will be taking a short break.

News 12 is told Yolanda’s will close for about two years as a new building goes up and their restaurant is redone.

"We will be back in our same location just looking a little different, a little more modern and complimenting the neighborhood, that's our dream,” says Calisi.

Jose Flores started working there almost 20 years ago when he came from Mexico, starting as a bus boy, and he now runs the place when the owner isn't there.

“My kids grew up over here. It's part of the family. It’s not worker or boss. It's like they're my parents, really,” says Flores.

Calisi says family takes care of family as they find other work while the construction is going on and come back together when they’re open.

While just some of Yolanda’s history lines the walls with politicians, public figures and athletes who have stopped by over the past 59 years, soon there will be a new chapter.

“Everything in here is very personal, but then again you look to the future and see you have to make a change,” says Calisi.

The last day Yolanda’s will be open before construction begins is July 27.

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