Charred siding, busted-out windows, and a business sign are all that’s left of Banana Peppers Pizzeria in Jefferson Hills. Neighbors said it was the best pizza spot in town before a fire ripped through it Tuesday morning.
“An inferno, and the black billowing smoke, I have never seen anything like it. [The building] just went up in flames in minutes,” said Mindy Stedding.
Stedding lives next door. She captured the moment flames began to take over the building along Gill Hall Road. She said she had never witnessed such devastation firsthand.
“They have the best pizza ever, and Mike has become a good friend of ours,” Stedding said.
And while no one was hurt, the shop wasn’t open for business and the tenant who rents the attached apartment wasn’t home, locals say it’s a huge loss to the community and to the family who owns the shop.
“When I came back, I saw the smoke billowing out of the exhaust, and my heart sank. I just put a lot of time and effort into everything,” said owner Mike Braun.
We caught up with Braun, who watched with his wife as his business burned.
“Banana Peppers has been here a lot longer than I have, and just liked feeding everybody, so it’s a shame that we can’t continue doing that for right now,” Braun said.
Mike told us they had just celebrated five years of business. The self-proclaimed pizza enthusiast said he is unsure of what’s next.
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