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Carnegie/Bridgeville

PaPa J's demolition is just the beginning

| Friday, Nov. 2, 2018, 1:33 a.m.
Contractors began demolishing the former site of PaPa J’s Ristorante in mid-September, and little is left standing of the structure.
Contractors began demolishing the former site of PaPa J’s Ristorante in mid-September, and little is left standing of the structure.

Seven months after a deadly fire, PaPa J’s Ristorante has mostly been razed to the ground. With salvage and cleanup under way, owner Michael Troiani said Wednesday that he’s looking now to purchase the lots next door to the restaurant’s former site.

The sale of 212 and 214 E. Main St. — the former home of Apis Wine and Meadery and current location of Don Don Chinese Restaurant, respectively — has not been finalized, but Troiani said he intends to have the buildings demolished and their respective parcels consolidate along with PaPa J’s.

Troiani said no decision has been made regarding the use of the space, which when consolidated would form a 29,000-square-foot lot.

“I will not promise that I’m going to open a new restaurant on that site, but I’m going to do everything I can to make it happen,” Troiani said.

PaPa J’s and the apartments above it were heavily damaged last spring by a fire that killed one tenant and gutted the building’s second and third floors. Contractors began demolishing at 200 and 210 E. Main St. last month and expect salvage to stretch through November.

Troiani added that he has received offers from several developers to rebuild a restaurant at that location and have the building leased back to him. He also said that tenants of 212 and 214 E. Main St. are not being forcibly ejected; he added that Don Don may move to another building in Carnegie that his family owns.

The Allegheny County Register lists Jamz Holdings LLC as the owner of the building at 212 and two private individuals as the owners of 214. Troiani said buying and demolishing additional property to build on looked to be less costly than rebuilding what was left of the former restaurant, which he said was no longer safe.

Further demolition and parcel consolidation would require additional permitting through Carnegie Borough. Troiani said he would like to hire back former members of PaPa J’s staff if the restaurant is to reopen.

“I would like nothing more than to be able to recommit to operations,” he said.

Matthew Guerry is a Tribune-Review contributor.

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