To be called Pompeii, the roughly 5,000-square-foot Italian restaurant would have a full bar and wine list and offer fare like steak and seafood amidst decor inspired by southern Italy.
The name pays homage to the famous Italian archaeological site near Naples, where owner Alfredo Iannuzzi spent his childhood.
Iannuzzi stepped off the plane to America at the age of 19 with $50 in his pocket, he said. He worked for “five or six years non-stop” at his family’s restaurants – they still own several in the Carlisle area – before opening his own.
Iannuzzi has had Marcello’s now for 12 years, starting off small and expanding a little every few years, he said. The BYOB restaurant has grown to almost 5,000 square feet and does a hefty amount of catering for the Army War College and nearby car show purveyor Carlisle Events.
The site on which Pompeii would sit is itself undergoing a transformation. The restaurant will be part of a massive redevelopment project expected to bring housing, a hotel and other entertainment to the property once owned by manufacturer C.H. Masland & Sons.
Masland later became Lear Corp., which became International Automotive Components Group. The 48-acre site left behind its manufacturing past in 2008 when IAC closed its doors. Carlisle Events sister company Carlisle Auto Industries Inc. bought the property two years later and is working closely with the borough to see the redevelopment project to fruition.
Road and utilities construction at the site could start later this year, said Tom Richey of Carlisle Auto Industries.
The timeline for Iannuzzi’s restaurant will depend in part on the state approving a special kind of liquor license specifically for businesses that are part of economic development projects, Richey said.
Iannuzzi has spent $80,000 so far just to apply for that license, including lawyers’ expenses and a $50,000 application fee that Iannuzzi said is refundable if the state denies his request.
Carlisle Borough will hold a public hearing to gather comments about the license May 11, The Sentinel reported.