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Arenella's owners seek return to Arlington Heights
By Sheila Ahern | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 3/26/2009 12:00 AM

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Mario and Rosa Longobardi are looking to move their Italian restaurant back to Arlington Heights, a village they called home for more than 15 years when the couple ran Arenella's.

"I've been out of work for four months and I've been going crazy at home," Mario Longobardi told members of the plan commission on Wednesday.

The Longobardis, who live in Arlington Heights, opened Arenella's at 1510 E. Hintz Road in 1988. Then the couple moved their restaurant to Palatine in 2004, where they stayed until they lost their lease. Now the couple wants to open a version of Arenella's in downtown Arlington Heights in the Metro Lofts building at 6 S. Dunton Ave. Brama Bread formerly occupied the spot.

The commission didn't vote on plan but members of the group voiced support for the restaurant, which would be called Mario's Trattoria & Pizzeria. It would be open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Village planners also supported the project.

The store is about 1,000 square feet and has space for 49 seats. Besides a small bar, the Longobardis also want to install a wood-burning pizza oven.

The restaurant won't deliver pizzas and there will be no outdoor seating, according to a village staff report.

"A lot of people were upset when we moved to Palatine," Mario Longobardi said. "Our new place is going to be more casual and cheaper. We cut out the expensive food. There will be more pizza, pasta and chicken."

If the village board approves the plan, the Longobardis want to open their new downtown Arlington Heights restaurant in mid-May.