Saturday May 14, 2022 was a bittersweet day for hungry Naugatuck residents. There was a huge food truck festival that drew thousands to the Naugatuck Events Center, but nearby, just across my now beloved Naugatuck River, a longtime city restaurant was shutting it's doors for good.

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American Pie Pizza at 500 New Haven Road (Rt. 63) is no more. I was in the Freihofer's Bakery Outlet near the Naugy Walmart yesterday picking up some cheap English Muffins and multi-grain bread when the couple in front of me in line started discussing the sudden closure of their favorite neighborhood restaurant, American Pie. Turns out, it's true. I stopped into American Pie's parking lot on the way back, just to make sure.

According to mycitizennews.com, the rent was just too damn high, and it forced the owner to make the impossibly tough decision to just shut it down.

Have you noticed the quality of food degrading at reasonably-priced local restaurants? I have too. Restaurant owners have had to adapt weekly in order to stay in business. Now? With the price increases on everything, and fuel and delivery expenses added in, profit is non-existent. There are only enough corners for a restaurant owner to cut, before something starts to suffer.

For example, I had a chicken cutlet grinder from a very famous deli in Naugatuck yesterday that I threw out after a couple of bites. The cutlet was rubbery, and it made a sound when you chewed it. Just thinking abut it is making me urp. American Pie put out a decent pizza, and they kept the price of their large specialty pizzas around $20. Look around at some of their competition's prices for a large, they're $30 or over.

Was that the case for American Pie Pizza? Due to an incredible rent increase, were they forced to consider 5-10 dollar price increases on their reasonably-priced items, in order to make a profit? What an awful feeling. Support your locally-owned restaurants, they need our help more than ever.

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