Phone frustrations cost Staten Island pizzeria big-time dough

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Nina Pineda has more on the shutdown of one pizzeria's phone service.

Over the holidays is when restaurants really need to rake it in with catering orders for big parties.

So imagine customers thinking you were shut down, when you were really open for business.

Every hour was critical for one small Staten Island shop. It was up to 7 On Your Side to help them restore their phone service and save them some big time dough.

To get their pizza pies and Stromboli hot from the oven and out the door, Domenico's Famous Pizza relies on their phone lines, a few of them.

"If you don't have the phones. You don't operate." That's the law of the pizza landscape for Domenico's owner, Adhurim Macelara.

That's why Macelara was very distressed when one day last month, the phones stopped ringing.

"Around 10:30AM, we (usually) start getting phone calls," observes the owner. But on this day, he said "We thought, 'Oh, it's just gonna be a slow day. One of our customers message us on Facebook that our phones were down."

The pizza shop owner says he was blindsided because he thought his landlord was working with Verizon to upgrade their entire strip mall to Fios. But Verizon says their workmen were never allowed in to upgrade their system. The landlord never answered our questions for comment.

The lost phone lines left the tenants worrying about their customers during the busiest time of the year, filled with catering orders for parties.

Their only business were a handful of orders sent in from social media. So, after a day and half of lost business Macelara estimates the outage cost him a lot of dough, about $1,600. But what worried the pizzeria the most was the owner says Verizon told him service might not be restored for 2 weeks.

"How am I going to survive. How are we going to survive?" questioned Macelara.

So he used his cell phone to call us. And the very next afternoon? The sound of silence was replaced by the sounds of Stromboli orders coming from their landline.

"I thought it was 4th of July, what's going on here, the fireworks are back once you hear," said Macelara.

Within hours of our calls Verizon restored service.

Verizon says it's been upgrading the city's aging phone infrastructure from copper to fiber for years.

In this case, Verizon says it notified the landlord and business numerous times over the course of 6 months - asking for access to upgrade the system.

They were never allowed in by the landlord until a day after we left the business.

We're happy to report - Verizon expects to finish the upgrade soon and service has been up and running ever since.


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