Pizza Villa, the 54-year-old Congress Street pizza parlor near Maine Medical Center, could be open again as early as March 19, according to one of its new owners. The restaurant, a West End institution, has been closed since Feb. 25.

Sam Minervino, who bought the business with his brother, Rob, said they are scheduled to go before the Portland City Council March 18 to get their restaurant/liquor license.

“If they approve our license on the 18th, there’s no reason we can’t open on the 19th,” he said. “On our side we should have everything done by then.”

The old-fashioned family pizzeria is known for its one-size pies (10 inches), sandwiches, pinball and video games, and cash-only bar. Minervino is changing the cash-only bar, and it will now take credit cards.

Maine Medical Center has completed its purchase of the building at 940 Congress Street, and is helping to pay for some of the renovations, Minervino said, including upgrades to plumbing and electrical systems.

“They’ve been great,” Minervino said. “They’re very interested in keeping the local place there because they want the property down the line, I think, for expansion or whatever they need, but they said in the meanwhile we’d really like to keep the flavor of the neighborhood and what people are used to. They’ve been very proactive in trying to help out and keep it going.”

Maine Med could one day fill the building’s upper floors with medical offices or similar uses, but the zoning – an institutional overlay zone developed in partnership with the city – prioritizes “community oriented/retail uses” for the first floor. The restaurant is a popular hang-out for Maine Med staff.

Minervino also owns Samuel’s Bar & Grill on Forest Avenue and Tomaso’s Canteen on Hampshire Street. Other members of the Minervino family co-own Legends Rest bar and restaurant in Westbrook.

Mike Regios founded Pizza Villa in 1965, and he passed it down to his sons, Tony and Phil Regios. Minervino said he and his brother Rob went to school with the Regios brothers, who have decided to retire. He said he wanted the business because “it’s been around long time, and it’s the type of business we know.”

Minervino added that Richard Peterson, president of MaineHealth and chief executive officer of Maine Med, “comes into Samuel’s now and them, and he really liked it and thought it would be a good fit.”

The Regios brothers will be teaching the Minervinos their recipes. “It’s a winning formula so I don’t really don’t want to change much,” Minervino said. “Very little.”


Comments are not available on this story.