Entertainment

Customers confused which Wichita Italian restaurant was closed by fire

Marchello’s at 31st and South Seneca reopened on Monday. Its owner says some customers mistakenly believed it closed for good after a fire last week.
Marchello’s at 31st and South Seneca reopened on Monday. Its owner says some customers mistakenly believed it closed for good after a fire last week. File photo

A fire that happened more than a week ago did enough damage to one south Wichita restaurant that the owner decided not to reopen it. The problem, says Marchello’s owner Mickey Afsharpour, is that people are confused about which restaurant that was.

It’s not his.

Marchello’s at 3107 S. Seneca suffered smoke damage in the fire, which started in the ceiling of neighboring business Alberto’s Pizzeria Buffet. But after days of cleanup – and changing out 300 ceiling tiles –Afsharpour was able to reopen Marchello’s on Monday.

“Nothing physically happened to my building,” he said. “It was just the smoke.”

Alberto’s didn’t fare as well. The dining room was damaged by the fire and firefighters trying to put it out, and as owner Ed Caillet surveyed the mess the day after the fire, he said he wasn’t planning to reopen.

Customers, though, are unclear. One even called Afsharpour asking for suggestions for alternative caterers since Marchello’s wouldn’t be able to complete her order. He assured her that nothing had changed.

“Friday, all day, all I did here was sit next to the phone answering calls from customers,” he said.

Afsharpour has operated Marchello’s, which specializes in Italian food like lasagna, pasta and pizza, for more than 20 years.

Marchello’s is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and from noon to 9 p.m. Sundays.

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