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Domenic DiLullo put up the ''closed'' sign at his family's restaurant last week, ending the eatery's 63-year history in Cuyahoga Falls.DiLullo's Restaurant, 2485 State Road, closed June 25 without warning.DiLullo said his life had gotten to the point that something had to give, and he made the decision quickly.DiLullo's father, John, opened the restaurant in 1946 with his brothers in a building their father had built.

After his uncles pursued their own businesses, his parents ran the restaurant, which Domenic took over about 25 years ago.''I always said, if I was married with kids, I don't know how I would do this,'' he said.Now 53, DiLullo is married with two kids, ages 5 and 7.

He volunteers at their schools and he runs Domenic's Pub nearby on State Road.''I don't feel that I have enough time to devote to it,'' he said.

''When I was single, I didn't have to worry about it.''On June 24, some of the cooks were on vacation.

DiLullo said he was at the res taurant with his kids until late at night.

His cell phone kept ringing, he needed to make a pot of the restaurant's signature tomato sauce, he needed to get his kids home, and it hit him.''I said, 'I can't do it.

I think today is the day.

What am I going to wait for? Until I'm 63 and drop dead?' I made the closed sign and thanked the people,'' DiLullo said.

''I didn't have the time to devote to it.

It was just way too much on my plate to manage a restaurant of that caliber.''The restaurant was known for its classic, old-school red-sauced Italian dishes � lasagna, braciole, traditional pasta.

Its mussels in tomato sauce was a perennial favorite with customers.Domenic's Pub will remain open and DiLullo is working on a new concept for the building, but it probably won't be Italian, it won't be fine dining and it won't be called DiLullo's.

He has officially retired the name.He hopes to have the new venture open in about four months.

It will be more family friendly, both for customers and for his own family, as he expects his children will be spending a lot of their time there as they grow up.DiLullo's youngest child has Down syndrome, and DiLullo is becoming increasingly involved in volunteer work and child advocacy issues.''I have too much to do.




I'm interested in doing more with children and handicapped children,'' he said.

''I can't do this anymore.

There's just one of me.

So I decided to retire the name.''DiLullo said he is searching for a general manager for the new place, someone who is interested in ''running the show'' with a dedication to the hospitality business and a strong entrepreneurial spirit.At a time when the economy is straining many restaurants, DiLullo said he was blessed with a steady customer base.''People are out there spending money,'' he said.DiLullo acknowledged that closing without notice has caused a bit of a shock for loyal customers.''We would like to thank the community, all the customers and the great staff we have had over the years for all their support and hard work,'' he said.Lisa A.

Abraham can be reached at 330-996-3737 or [email protected]
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