PHOTOS: San Jose’s Palermo restaurant reopens to diners after September arson fire

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Less than three months after an arson fire closed Palermo in San Jose, the restaurant’s owners and staff welcomed back their devoted customers Tuesday with hugs, handshakes and plenty of Sicilian favorites.

The Cusimanos — Diane and husband Renato — bought this iconic space, the former Paradiso’s Deli, in 2016 from longtime owner Tony Paradiso, who had served this cannery district for 50 years. They opened it a year later as Palermo. Soon after, they started transforming the parking lot into patio seating, long before the pandemic made alfresco dining a must.

Most of the seating areas were untouched by the flames Sept. 4. The two-alarm blaze damaged the front porch and the first room of the interior and melted the power lines that run across Auzerais Avenue, knocking out power.

The impact on the kitchen and the rest of the interior was limited to smoke damage, Diane Cusimano said at the time, adding that they were grateful the San Jose Fire Department crews knocked down the fire so quickly.

And now, the Cusimanos say they have much more to to be thankful for this holiday. “We are giving thanks to all of our staff returning to work with us. We are are thankful that we were able to reopen so soon, and we are blessed with community support. Our clientele returned and expressed their happiness for our reopening,” Diane said.

Details: Open from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday (closed Thanksgiving) at 791 Auzerais Ave., San Jose; https://palermosj.com

Palermo welcomes a lunch crowd, Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022, as the Italian restaurant reopened following a closure caused by an arson fire. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group) 
SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 22: Diane Cusimano, owner of Palermo Restaurant greets longtime customer Father Chris as the Italian restaurant reopened, , Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022, following a two and a half month closure caused by an arson fire. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)
Diane Cusimano, owner of Palermo, greets longtime customer Father Chris, of St. Christopher’s Church, as the Italian restaurant reopened Tuesday. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group) 
SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 22: Diane Cusimano, owner of Palermo Restaurant, greets longtime customers Tim Muller and Steve Gera, as the Italian eatery reopened on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022, following a two and a half month closure caused by an arson fire. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)
Diane Cusimano, owner of Palermo Restaurant, greets longtime customers Tim Muller and Steve Gera, as the Italian eatery reopened Tuesday. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group) 
Flames early Sunday destroyed the front porch and part of the Palermo restaurant interior, but San Jose firefighters got the blaze under control quickly, leaving unscathed the patio areas, the outdoor bar and private dining room in the back. The kitchen and inside dining room suffered smoke damage, the owners said. (Linda Zavoral/Bay Area News Group)
Flames on Sept. 4 destroyed the front porch and part of the Palermo restaurant interior, but San Jose firefighters got the blaze under control quickly, leaving unscathed the patio areas, the outdoor bar and private dining room in the back. The kitchen and inside dining room suffered smoke damage, the owners said. (Linda Zavoral/Bay Area News Group) 

 

 

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