Sometime between closing on Monday and Tuesday morning, a section of the brick façade on the south side of Leo’s restaurant came crashing to the ground. Now the restaurant at the corner of Hope and Church streets is dark.
“At this point they’re saying we’re closed until further notice,” Leo’s owner Paul Mancieri said.
When Mr. Mancieri learned of the incident, he contact Bristol’s building inspector, Richard Pimenta.
“In the interest of safety, he didn’t want to take any risk,” Mr. Mancieri said.
The building that houses Leo’s restaurant is a former Mason Hall, owned by St. Alban’s Lodge of Bristol. It was constructed in 1879.
“It’s a tough situation,” Mr. Mancieri said of the business closure. “I can’t do anything until we know what kind of move we need to make.”
Although he said it appears the collapse is just the brick façade, engineers will need to look at the building to assess any other issues that may have led to the collapse.
The restaurant has endured several business interruptions over the past several years, with hurricanes, winter storms and the Hope Street reconstruction project that removed some parking spaces from outside the business.
In the present, Mr. Mancieri is concerned about his staff of a dozen employees who are now out of work, and the diners who crowd into the restaurant for lunch and dinner.
“This is the last thing I need,” Mr. Mancieri said. “I have a great staff. We’ll get through this.”
Mr. Pimenta could not be reached for comment.