After 47 years in business, Maria’s Italian Deli in Newhall closed its doors under the operation of its second owners, but Maria Simione, who opened the business and still owns the property, said Saturday she’s hopeful for a new chapter.
Located in the same brick building on Lyons Avenue since 1973, the locale has served as part Italian market and deli, and is known for its pizzas, subs and pasta.
On its storefront, the business displayed two signs that read “closed permanently. Thank you for your patronage” and “47 years serving Santa Clarita.”
The announcement came as a blow for many longtime customers, including Newhall resident Javier Arroyo.
“I’ve lived in Santa Clarita since 2000 and I’ve been coming here since,” he said Saturday. “My brothers would bring me when I was small, and as I grew up, I would get out of work tired and go with my friends and hang out and have pizza and cold beer. It was the best, especially their meatball sandwiches. It just felt like you were so welcomed.”
Owners of the deli did not return requests for comment Saturday and the business’ main phone line appeared inoperable.
For Simione, who opened the eatery with her husband, Ben, the closure felt as though “They took a part of my history,” she said.
The business was sold to the last owners about two years ago after Simione retired, she said, adding that she believes the business was shut down due to a decline in clientele and management and rent issues.
“I worked very hard for that place,” said Simione. “I would be there until 2 a.m., but I gave personal service. My mother was in business all her life and I learned from her and I enjoyed what I was doing.”
It’s the people, the connections that Simione misses the most, she said.
“I kissed the most people in my life because of the way I am,” she said with a laugh. “I conversed with people; it was a pleasure for me.”
Before opening Maria’s Italian Deli, Simione “created clothes” and had her own business for several years in Burbank, before moving to the Santa Clarita Valley, where her husband encouraged her at one point to open up a boutique instead.
She attributed her success in the food industry to her mother, who owned a restaurant and hotel in Rome, according to Simione.
Though sad to see the deli shut down, Simione said she will begin looking for another renter and, ideally, she would love for the property to remain an Italian establishment.
“That,” she said, “is up to the new person.”