After eight years in business, West Asheville’s Nona Mia Deli, Market and Pizzeria closed last weekend. The shuttering came suddenly for locals and staff who learned of the closing on Saturday night, but owner Peter Affatato says it was something that had been coming for a while.
Negotiations had been in progress for someone to take over the space that Nona Mia occupied, says Affatato, but he wasn’t sure what when the takeover would happen so was unable to make an announcement beforehand.
“It was the not knowing if things were going to go through, and if they weren’t, I was going to stay in the space and operate until I knew somebody else was going to be able to come in and take over,” he says.
Affatato says that finalization of the transfer of the building and equipment is planned for Thursday, July 2. He doesn’t own the building but does own the restaurant’s equipment and furnishings.
He says he is unable to disclose the name of the new business that will move into the space until the transfer is finalized, but he did say that the business taking over the building isn’t an expansion of an existing local restaurant, but rather “a local business person looking to get into the restaurant business.”
Affatato says he purposely chose to close down his business rather than selling it to a new owner. The people moving into the Nona Mia location have their own menu and concept, he says.“I didn’t want to give up the name and the recipes. I built that; it’s my food,” says Affatato. “I want to hang onto that name and concept in case I want to come back into town and reopen something down the road.”
Before the announcement was made about the closing of the Haywood Road restaurant, Nona Mia had plans to open a store in Canton in the former location of the Corner Sandwich Shop at 127 Park St. Affatato says he is still considering moving ahead with that project, but nothing is set in stone yet.
“If we do decide to move forward with it, it probably won’t be for a few months,” he says, adding that such a timeline would have the store on track for a possible September or October opening.
The potential Canton location would have the same style and flavors that customers have come to expect from the restaurant, but it won’t be a full service restaurant like the one on Haywood Road. “It will be more of a scaled back version of Nona Mia; a to-go pizzeria with sandwiches and salads,” he says.
As for what’s in store for Affatato’s immediate future, he says he plans to increase his family time and get out and see the world a little.
“I’ve had restaurants in West Asheville for about 12 years solid now, working 90-100 hours per week, and it was just time for me to take a little bit of time for myself, my family,” says Affatato.