Downtown Youngstown finished a year full of change in 2012 with one last opening before the ringing in of the new year.
Avalon Downtown pizzeria had a soft opening Monday to coincide with the First Night Youngstown events.
Just a few hours before the opening, the pizzeria remained a flurry of activity as the partners in the business, Angelina Snyder and Anne Massullo Sabella, and their employees rushed to get everything ready.
By 1 p.m., potential customers were starting to look in the business, at 17 W. Federal St., eager to find it when it opened.
“We originally weren’t going to open this week, but then we decided it would be a great day to open, with New Year’s,” Sabella said.
They decided to have a soft opening this week serving just pizza. The full menu will be available starting next week, she said.
“We had been talking for more than a year about opening a restaurant,” Snyder said.
When this opportunity came about, it was great chance to add “something new to the downtown,” she said.
The building shows the exposed wood and brick common in older downtown buildings and includes a large mural on the wall depicting the city and has the names of the business partners on it.
The opening of the business did have some setbacks, Sabella said. The pair started planning for the pizzeria in March and had hoped to have it up and running by now.
But the pair was looking forward to seeing the first customers come through the door.
The walk-up window on the outside of the business will be open to serve pizza and carry-out drinks until 3 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Snyder said she believes it’s the only place in the downtown with a serving window. Hours will be 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
There are plans for the bar renovation that may take as long as six more months, Sabella said. “It’s a new concept, and it’s something that nobody around here is doing,” Snyder said.