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Oakland's Marzano To Return to Same Space With Its Opening Chef as New Owner

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Thursday, February 11 is the opening night goal.

Justin H./Yelp

When a favorite restaurant closes, it’s normal to hold out hope that it may return. So for all you Marzano faithfuls: Your pizza dreams are coming true — Marzano is returning. The Italian restaurant and pizzeria closed in 2014 after its owners (Justin Hafen and John Hurley) decided to start slowly backing out of the restaurant business. Growlers’ Arms took over the space, but then closed in August after less than a year.

That’s when Hafen and Hurley saw an opportunity to bring Marzano back. They reached out to old general manager Manna Tekie and opening chef Rob Holt, who were immediately on board. Tekie and Holt plan to bring Marzano back just as it was, staff and all — 70 percent of the original employees are returning. February 11 is the opening night goal.

As for Hurley and Hafen, they are also selling their Pacific Heights restaurant Garibaldi’s over to chef Doug Borkowski and general manager Cate Mason to focus full-time on their real estate development and grape growing business in St. Helena.