By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Jul 13, 2012 at 12:45 PM

After many decades on the East Side – it's not a stretch to call the restaurant at 2315 N. Murray Ave., an institution – Palermo Villa is closing, according to owner Kathy Mirenda.

"Palermo Villa Restaurant, on Murray Avenue, has closed its doors," said Mirenda in an e-mail. "For 34 years we have been serving our traditional, classic Italian cuisine and pizza.

"Our long-standing clientele has considered us the place that never changes, and we have always thought that to be a compliment. It has become evident that we can no longer do business as usual. We are closing during these difficult economic times in hopes to recreate and reopen in the future. To all our loyal customers and friends, we thank you for your support and patronage these many years."

Mirenda is working with her brother Dean Cannestra – long an employee of the restaurant, before opening Nessun Dorma in Riverwest and the now-closed Libiamo in Schlitz Park – to investigate the possibility of reopening.

The closing hits home for me. My wife and I ate at Palermo Villa on our wedding day and returned every year to celebrate our anniversary. Luckily, we squeezed in one last visit in June to celebrate our 10th anniversary.

In the past few days there was a sign on the door saying the restaurant was closed for vacation. That sign is no longer hanging.

Palermo Villa opened in 1969 under the ownership of the Fallucca family that now owns Palermo's Pizza.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.