Carmel eatery to close doors after years of ongoing construction

A Carmel restaurant is shutting down after enduring years of nearby road construction it can no longer overcome, the owner told IBJ.

J. Razzo’s Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar, 12501 Meridian St., plans to close Sept. 15. The restaurant is hanging around long enough to participate in the annual Devour Indy event, which runs from Aug. 20 to Sept. 2.

John Perazzo, owner of the restaurant that opened in 2011 in Hamilton Crossing, said years of ongoing road construction around his restaurant have taken a toll. He can no longer stay open, he told IBJ.

When he first opened the eatery, the Meridian corridor was booming, he said. His restaurant, which serves Italian lunch and dinner fare, thrived, too. But constant construction that began in 2014 has made it inconvenient for many of his potential customers to reach the restaurant, which near the southwest corner of Carmel Drive and Pennsylvania Street.

Construction to turn U.S. 31 into a freeway, which removed the stoplight at Carmel Drive, began in 2014, and business decreased, Perazzo said. At the time, he told IBJ lunch business dropped by at least half. Dinner business was down 10 percent to 20 percent.

Even now, customers have a hard time getting to the restaurant.They must exit U.S. 31 at 116th Street or Main Street, but some GPS systems still tell travelers to get off at 126th Street, Perazzo said. 

Over the years, 126th Street has seen ongoing construction that has hurt the business, Perazzo said. And now, a new roundabout is under construction at West Carmel Drive and Old Meridian Street.

Perazzo said he's sorry for his employees. Many of them have worked for him for years. He had hoped he'd be able to stay open through the end of the year, but that won't be possible, he said. 

He’ll also miss his customers, he told IBJ.  

“I’ve gotten to know so many people on the north side," he said. "As I sit down and contemplate, it's actually really sad.”

J. Razzo’s 2, which opened in late 2013 on State Road 32 in Westfield, remains open.

Before opening J. Razzo’s, Perazzo was general manager of Salvatore’s at 86th Street and Ditch Road for 23 years.  

J. Razzo's isn't the first restaurant in the area to cite traffic issues for its decision to close. In November, the owners of Bellacino's Pizza & Grinders in Carmel decided to close their 16-year-old restaurant at 12590 N. Meridian St., citing a major decline in business after the massive reconstruction of U.S. 31 limited access and visibility to the eatery.

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