For years, the Italian eatery Bella Nonna Family Restaurant served up mountains of pasta and countless pizzas to legions of loyal patrons who were greeted by a larger than life statue of an Old World woman outside the Cos Cob establishment.
Now the restaurant on East Putnam at Mead Avenue, across from the Cos Cob School, has been reduced to a pile of rubble, to make way for the 9th bank in the hamlet in the heart of Greenwich.
Yesterday, onlookers watched as heavy machinery knocked down the building that decades ago was a Dairy Queen. The demolition work is the beginning of the project that divided the neighborhood with opponents voicing concerns over traffic at the congested intersection and that the hamlet didn't need a 9th bank.
Last fall, the Planning and Zoning Commission originally rejected the proposal to build a Chase Bank branch on the site. After the landowner, Lu Door Corp. made concessions on several issues including reducing to one, the number of drive-up windows, increasing the amount of landscaping on the lot, and prohibiting left turns out the adjacent Dunkin' Donuts shop, as part of an agreement to drop a lawsuit challenging the commission's rejection.
The popular Bella Nonna opened in 1998 and based its menu on family recipes handed down several generations which drew many fans including former New York Knick Allan Houston and his family.