Mariposa Pizza Factory preps for grand re-opening

FRESNO, Calif.

Chefs at the Mariposa Pizza Factory are preparing the dough by rolling it out and tossing it into the air. The ovens are warming up for the large crowds expected to come when the restaurant reopens a year to the date from when the iconic building burned to the ground in an accidental fire.

"The entire block was lost for them to be able to do that up and running within a year and get us back to have it was a miracle in itself," said owner Luke Willey. Willey wanted to rebuild and continue the family business that has been a mainstay in the community for 33 years. "Anybody can build a building but what we tried doing is restore everybody's memories," said Willey.

While many of those memories went up in flames, management tried their best to make the restaurant look like it did before the fire.

Other tenants are also moving in. Just next door to the factory, workers at Simplicity Salon & Spa were putting the finishing touches for their Wednesday opening. "This new building is going to attract a lot of people and a lot of attention. So we're hoping that business gets a lot better for us as well as for the Pizza Factory," said Lindsay McClure of Simplicity.

The large task to rebuild the structure was made possible with a construction crew that worked 6-day weeks to get the job done on time. "This is certainly a custom project with all the history we put into it," said Dave Gerken with Alpine Builders.

The grand re-opening for the Pizza Factory will be Saturday, May 11th, at 11am.

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