MIDDLETOWN — Carmella’s Pizzeria on West Main Road has closed for good.
Owner Ken Martin, who opened the location in 2003, declined to comment when contacted by The Daily News on Monday, saying only “yes” when asked if the closure was COVID-related.
Passersby are greeted by a “For Lease” sign on the property, and a message on the door reads: “Closed. Lack of staff.”
The original Carmella’s Pizzeria opened in 2002 at the Portsmouth Plaza, 3001 East Main Road, that now serves as Martino’s, operated by Martin’s nephew. A year later, Martin expanded his New York-style pizza business into Middletown, at 330 West Main Road, which had been a Walt’s Roast Beef location.
“Pizza places are a dime a dozen, but good ones aren’t,” he told The Daily News at the time. “Our key phrase is, ‘If you’re not eating at Carmella’s, you’re not eating.'”
A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in New York, Martin owned Martino’s Pizzeria in North Kingstown before selling it and opening Carmella’s in Portsmouth.
Carmella’s not only fed the community, but also was active in it, sponsoring the annual Thanksgiving basketball tournament held at the Martin Recreation Center in Newport.
In 2018, Carmella’s finished in a tie with Nikolas Pizza for best pizza in the Newport Life Magazine Best Of Newport County contest.