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story.lead_photo.caption The Sentinel-Record/Mara Kuhn ARTIST AT WORK: Anthony Valinoti, owner and chef at DeLuca's Pizzeria, located at 407 Park Ave., prepares the crust for one of his famous pizzas. His pizza was recently named the best in Arkansas in an article by First We Feast, an online magazine and food blog, which recognized the best pizzas in each of the 50 states.

A popular pizza restaurant in Hot Springs is moving to a growing area of downtown, the owner said Friday.

DeLuca's Pizzeria will open at its new location on 831 Central Ave. next month after moving from its secluded address on 407 Park Ave.

"When I started this five years ago, it was a six-table restaurant," owner Anthony Valinoti said. "I never thought it would grow and it would become what it has become. We outgrew that facility and had to find a better space with access to parking and air conditioning."

The new location is situated on downtown Hot Springs' main thoroughfare next to historic bathhouses, artisanal shops, art galleries, museums and other local restaurants, such as Core Public House. In August, the owner of the brewery purchased the building next door and asked his friend Valinoti if he was willing to move.

The old restaurant will close Sept. 29 and reopen in the new space Oct. 11 once renovations to the building, built in 1890, are completed. Construction workers have already installed new electric and plumbing systems and built a second story for storage, Valinoti said.

The owner added that he hopes increased foot traffic at the new location will draw more customers.

"We never had foot traffic on Park. It was a destination," he said. "We’re hoping to expose it to more people who can come in and see what we do. I’m not as afraid as I was to show it. In the beginning, I didn’t even want to put up a sign. But people have been good to me, and I survived."

The menu and hours of operation will likely stay the same through the end of the year, but Valinoti said he may stay open until midnight on the weekends, with a special late-night menu, beginning in January or February. He also mentioned opening for lunch Thursday through Monday sometime in the future.

"It’ll take us a minute to figure out the new space and figure out how to best serve people there," he said. "It's still a living canvas in a lot of ways."

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  • Delta2
    September 14, 2018 at 1:28 p.m.

    Some of the best pizza I've ever had, made by one of the most interesting and entertaining persons I've ever met. He could do well in a cardboard box, but I bet he thrives in this new location.

  • HenryP
    September 14, 2018 at 3:27 p.m.

    Excellent pizza....

  • MaxCady
    September 14, 2018 at 5:31 p.m.

    The man knows how to make a pizza!!

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