It’s the end of an era in Boonville. Its pizza landmark served up the final slices Sunday as Mr. Gatti’s closed its doors for the last time.
Dough, sauce, and cheese will get you most of the way to a good pizza. Inside Mr. Gatti’s oven, there’s a lot more love, passion, and family going into their pies.
That’s why this good bye is so hard.
“I’ll be sad,” said James Welborn eating a slice of pepperoni covered in cheesy noodles.
It may seem trite to be so emotional over a pizza place, Mr. Gatti’s is Boonville’s pizza place, and one Rusty Williams is going to miss.
“It’s really heartbreaking. This been my life for a very long time,” he said. For the last 11 years, working in front and behind the scenes, Williams has called it home.
“It’s like losing a loved one,” he added.
Like so many other pizza lovers out there, Mr. Gatti’s will be missed. Riley Epperson will hold her memories dearly, because she’s been a Gatti’s fan for as long as she can remember.
“Probably since I was like 2 or 3,” Epperson said. “I’m 21, so that’s a long time,” she laughed.
The game room was first to go. It was closed to customers Sunday. Lights are dim and displays were turned off on most machines, save on still playing music in the corner.
The last hurrah for them all.
“I used to have a bunch of birthday parties here when I was little,” Epperson said glancing toward the arcade.
When it’s time to go, it won’t be games or pizza most will remember. Madison Hillenbrand, who’s worked at Gatti’s for more than 3 years will miss the people.
“My co-workers, for sure, even on my bad days they could always put a smile on my face,” she said.
Workers and people with bellies full of pizza will walk out for the last time, and a world of emotions will overwhelm many.
“Bigger and better things is what I keep telling myself,” said Williams.
There’s only one word they’ll say.
“I was to thank the community for everything they’ve done,” added Williams.