Restaurant fire is setback for owner of Ippolito’s

The kitchen at Ippolito’s Italian restaurant in Sandy Springs was destroyed by an early morning fire Wednesday and now owner Brandon Ippolito is uncertain if he will rebuild the eatery that his parents opened 28 years ago.

The dining room and bar of the restaurant located on Roswell Road has extensive smoke damage in what authorities believe was an electrical fire, Ippolito said.

“It’s devastating news on top of everything that has happened,” he said.

The fire is a setback after a slow reopening since the statewide shelter-in-place order for the coronavirus pandemic expired in April. After closing for nearly two months, Ippolito’s reopened May 4 with curbside and takeout options and limited dine-in service in the following weeks.

The restaurant had about 30 employees before the fire including some kitchen staff who have been at the restaurant for 15 years, he said.

“My goal would be to rebuild,” he said.

Funds from the federal Paycheck Protection Program have helped the restaurant to rebound from closure during the pandemic, but Ippolito does not foresee sales returning to what they were anytime soon.

His parents, George and Toni Ippolito, moved to the Atlanta area from Connecticut in 1987 and started the restaurant in Roswell two years later. The Sandy Springs location followed in 1992. Brandon Ippolito’s parents retired from the business in 2015, leaving it to him to operate.

The Sandy Springs and Roswell locations were doing well before the pandemic started, Ippolito said. They closed for nearly two months and reopened May 4 with curbside and takeout options, and limited dine-in service in the following weeks.

The Ippolito family also owns, Ipps Pastaria in Roswell and Woodstock; and franchised additional Ippolito’s locations in Alpharetta and Suwanee to close family and friends.

Brandon said it’s been difficult for his parents to see the business challenges of 2020. “I know its hard for them,” he said. “Its just a crazy time to try to navigate these waters.”