Updated 4 p.m.
After 63 years of serving generations of diners affordable Italian fare, has closed its doors.
"It was just time for us to close. It was a great run," second-generation owner John Banchero Jr., 61, told Castro Valley Patch on Wedneday.
On Wednesday afternoon, phones continued to ring off the hook as former customers called in asking for updates on the restaurant located at 20102 Mission Blvd. in Hayward's unincorporated Cherryland.
"I expected a reaction but not this much. It's heartfelt and appreciated," Banchero said.
The restaurant, which employed 33 staff members including some family, closed on Monday. Banchero said he made this difficult decision due to several factors including the struggling economy and working countless seven-day weeks at the restaurant.
"I've never had a job (other than this one)," Banchero said. "I've never had the time to look for one."
However, he isn't planning on sending resumes out soon. Banchero said he plans to retire and enjoy spending more time with family, including his wife of 31 years.
Originally opened by his father, John Banchero Sr., in 1948, John recalls working at the establishment at the age of 13 — starting from the kitchen and working his way up to become owner.
The restaurant has had a longtime following of families in the area. During its 50th anniversary celebration, Banchero said a family made up of six generations dined and took up two large booths — one of the largest groups made up of the generations eating in at once.
"I'll never forget that," he said. "I owe a great deal of gratitude to all our faithful families."
In 1948 a humble World War II veteran and his best friend took his mother’s recipes and started a restaurant that would become a part of nearly every East Bay family. Thank you for allowing us to have the greatest job in the world, serving you. We ate together, we drank together, and we laughed until we cried together. We can never thank you enough for the dinners you have shared with us. Your support has made Banchero’s Italian Dinners an institution for over sixty-three years. So from three generations of the Banchero family and staff, it is with a heavy heart and a sincere gratitude for all the friends we’ve made along the way, that we announce today, Banchero’s Italian Dinners is closed...
Thank you so much,
The Banchero's Restaurant Family
To learn more about Banchero's Italian Dinners' history, visit its website at http://bancherositaliandinners.com/our_history.html.