An iconic pizza shop returns on Monday.
Jim's Pizza Box in Milan will reopen with a ceremony Monday. Immediately following, the brand new shiny pizza oven will start rolling out pizzas.
Area residents have patiently waited for this since a Feb. 19 fire destroyed the inside of the pizzeria. The state fire marshal ruled the fire's cause undetermined, but the family believes it was caused by faulty electrical fixture inside the storage room.
“We are getting excited to be back. People who know we are opening are so excited,” said Adam Iadell, nephew of owners Jim West and Nancy Willard.
Iadell, who helps manage the business, was the closing manager the night the fire started.
“We got the call after 1:00 in the morning. We were just devastated, my uncle was just devastated,” Iadell said. “It was the outpouring of the community that kept him going.”
The family lost equipment, furniture, memorabilia special to Milan and its native son, Thomas Edison, Iadell said. West also lost years of awards that hung on the walls of the restaurant, Iadell said.
Some organizations and people donated prints and keepsakes to again fill the walls of the pizzeria with Milan memories.
“We want this to feel like home again for everyone. We have thought of the community during the remodel, such as adding a party room for clubs to use,” Iadell said.
The look is totally new.
“Its shocking. It will stun you,” said Jim West Jr., who owns the insurance agency that held the policy on the restaurant. “I tell you what we are beyond excited to be reopening.”
His father and the family are used to working 80 hour weeks. It will be comforting to going back to working those hours, he laughed.
When the fire hit and his dad was overwhelmed, Jim West Jr. took over rebuilding the pizzeria.
“It is quite a bit more modern but we did not lose sight of who are and what we do,” West Jr. said.
Windows open up more of a view onto the square.
The dining area is now made up of one main dining room. It had been split in half previously.
The opening celebration begins at 4:30 p.m. on Monday with a ribbon cutting and the Edison High School marching band playing in the parking lot.
The family wants everyone to come and see the place for themselves, Iadell said.
“We could not have done this without the support of the community. People have been asking 'What can we do.' They can come in and see my dad. That is all he is looking for,” West Jr. said.