John Pontillo says he has tried doing everything he can to save Pontillo's on East Main Street in Batavia.
So far, all of his offers to buy the building and the business have been rejected. He doesn't know why.
"I offered a solution that gave the family business a chance to reopen and keep it in the family," John Pontillo said this afternoon. "It could be open right now. I made an offer that would have allowed us to take care of all our creditors. Bankers looked at it and real estate people looked at it and business people looked at it and all said, 'John, this is a good offer.'
"It's very frustrating. I don't know why it was rejected."
The landmark Pontillo's, which Sam Pontillo founded in 1947, shut down in November, with a sign appearing in the parking lot saying it was closed for remodeling. It turned out, however, that the business owed more than $112,000 in back taxes.
The brothers were soon in court trying to settle estate and debt issues and who would run the business.
And the fate of Pontillo's has been tied up in court since.
"We all grew up in this business," John said. "I would like to keep it in the family."
A for-sale sign appeared on Pontillo's yesterday about 4 p.m., but John is skeptical that the business and building can be sold before creditors foreclose on the property. He fears if his offer isn't accepted before foreclosure, there will be no more Pontillo's in Batavia -- not the family business his parents nutured into a regionally renowned destination for pizza and pasta.
As local restaurateur Sean Valdes noted in a comment yesterday, "This will be a hard building to sell as a restaurant. The overhead will be a challenge."
We have a call into Sam Pontillo seeking his comment on the situation.