Pioneer Valley Pizza closes in Amherst

Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 14, 2018

AMHERST — A pizza restaurant in the East Amherst village center for more than a decade has closed, just months after its more upscale sister Italian restaurant in downtown also shuttered.

Pioneer Valley Pizza, 356 College St., which originally opened at 20 Belchertown Road in 2005 as a take-out and delivery restaurant before moving in 2013, closed at the end of December for winter break and didn’t reopen in January.

Efforts to reach owners Joseph Bowman and Brian Covel by email on Tuesday were unsuccessful, and a recording on the phone number for the restaurant said the phone line was temporarily disconnected. In addition, the restaurant’s website no longer functions.

Bowman and Covel, who opened the sit-down Fratelli’s Ristorante at 30 Boltwood Walk in 2016, closed that spot at the end of November, just over a year after opening. The opening was delayed for several years after the restaurant faced challenges caused by a moratorium from Berkshire Gas, which prohibited any extensions of natural gas connections

The business partners in 2012 had also planned to open another location for Pioneer Valley Pizza in an addition to the 30 Boltwood Walk building, the Webster House, which has offices and Johnny’s Tavern.

But these plans were scuttled when the Zoning Board of Appeals prohibited a take-out business from opening there, a decision that was bolstered by a subsequent lawsuit filed by the town.

The now vacant Pioneer Valley Pizza site has been a pizza shop since at least the 1970s, previously as the long-time location of Pizzarama and briefly the site of Alpha Pizza Pi.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.