ASHTABULA — After 16 years in business, Purola’s Bridge Street Pizzeria is moving to a much larger space at the former Lou’s Billow Beach restaurant in Saybrook Township.
Purola’s BSP, family owned and operated, anticipates hosting a grand opening Valentine’s Day weekend. They will be open through Christmas on Bridge Street.
“Our goal was always to own our own building,” Chris Purola said. “We needed a bigger place and we couldn’t pass up the opportunity.”
Purola’s BSP will continue to offer pizza, pasta, salad, subs and desserts, as well as expanding the menu and utilizing two bars.
The new space, at 5205 Lake Road W., has the capacity to seat 140 customers inside, compared to 85 on Bridge Street. Plus, the new location will offer outside dining in the summer months and bigger and `better parking, Purola said.
“We are going to stick with the Ashtabula Harbor/beach theme,” he said. “We plan to brighten it up — it’s kind of dark in there now.”
Ashtabula resident Dodie Mattson said she doesn’t want the pizzeria to move.
“I go there all the time,” she said. “The old Lou’s Billow Beach will be nice, but I wish they would keep both locations open.”
One thing the former Lou’s Billow Beach doesn’t lack is history — the restaurant’s existence dates back to the early 1950s.
In 1964, a former owner, Louis DeHelian, added a bar to Lou’s Billow Beach and remodeled the upstairs to accommodate large parties. The restaurant was renamed Lou’s Stagecoach when it re-opened after the renovations.
The name was changed back to Lou’s Billow Beach when Tracy Coates took over ownership, about 20 years later. Next it was co-owned by the late Gib Shanley, a former Cleveland television sports personality, and Rich Phinney.
More recently, Harry Glitz and Ed Dunlap remodeled the restaurant with a Key West motif but it closed after a short time.