What had been a popular wood-fired pizza restaurant for more than 20 years is gone, and the space on Union Avenue across from Saratoga Race Course will be used to park cars this summer.
Rod Sutton, the local businessman who owns the property, said Tuesday the small building, which once housed Bruno’s Wood Fired Pizza and later Sabina’s Wood Fire Restaurant, was demolished in March.
“The building needed a lot of repair work,” he said.
A fire gutted a small storage building behind the restaurant in August 2012, and it was removed.
Instead of putting money into the one-story eatery, Sutton leveled the building, and the property will be used for track parking, at least for this summer.
Another vacant piece of land just east of Sutton’s property will also be leased out for track parking, said Tom Lewis, a real estate representative for Stewart’s Shops.
Stewart’s owns the land at the corner of Union Avenue and East Avenue, across from the main gate to Saratoga Race Course. Lewis said an old gas station on the corner, which was closed for many years, was finally demolished in late 2012 after city officials granted permission.
“It was an eyesore,” Lewis said.
Stewart’s has no plans for the corner lot because of the restrictive zone it is in.
Lewis said he hopes the Saratoga Springs City Council will consider rezoning this portion of Union Avenue for uses other than residential. Stewart’s is also planning to lease the property to people who will use the land for parking during the thoroughbred meet, which this year starts July 19 and ends Labor Day, Sept. 2.
Peter and Carol Kurto operated Bruno’s Wood-Fired Pizza in the Union Avenue building for 18 years. The popular restaurant was known in the city and beyond for its excellent pizza. The Kurtos sold the business in 2005. The property was always owned by Sutton, who leased the building to the various restaurants.
Sabina’s Wood Fire Restaurant was closed by then-owner Joseph DeVivo last October.
The only building left standing on the stretch of Union across from the race course entrance is Kings Tavern at 241 Union Ave., which has been there for several decades.
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