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Published: Saturday, 10/23/2004

Restaurant in works downtown

Long-vacant retail space in downtown Toledo's historic LaSalle building is being converted into a restaurant specializing in pizza, salads, and Italian-style sandwiches.

An outlet of the Bellacino's chain, of Portage, Mich., will open there by Dec. 1, said the franchisee, Tony Volpi, Sr.

Renovation of the space, whose upper floors house the LaSalle Apartments, is underway.

Mr. Volpi operates outlets of a restaurant with a similar theme called Mancino's Pizza & Grinder's in Temperance, Monroe, and Bowling Green.

The retail space, on the main floor of the former LaSalle's department store, has been vacant since Shale's pharmacy closed in 2000. The building is at Adams and Erie streets. The restaurant, which will seat 70, will have a warehouse theme with 27-foot ceilings and exposed brick on the walls.

"My two sons are in it with me and we're pumped," Mr. Volpi said. "This is not a typical place." His sons are Tony, Jr., and Matthew.

It will be the fourth downtown restaurant specializing in submarine-style sandwiches.

"Competition is good," said Mr. Volpi. "We're not worried. I think we're going to do well."

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