- Grove City, Pennsylvania

July 6, 2012

Mural unveiled June 28

By Felicia A. Petro/Senior Reporter
Allied News

GROVE CITY — Olde Town has a new piece of art with a vintage look.

The College Avenue side of Nonni's Corner Trattoria - which also faces South Broad Street - has an untitled mural of a Sicilian city scene, circa 1950s, that will add to the two murals already on the sides of buildings downtown.

The mural was unveiled to the public June 28.

"It's been an incredible journey," said artist Andrew Hazelton of the mural, which he worked on for a year on the second level of Nonni's before it was hung on June 26.

"I couldn't be more excited," said Dave Valenza, restaurant owner and brother-in-law to Hazelton. "We love to be contributing art to the community and combine it with Andy's display of talent."

Hazelton's wife, Camille, is a sous chef and dessert maker at the restaurant, where her mother Nonni - Helen Valenza - is head chef.

Mrs. Hazelton also was the inspiration for a female character holding vegetables in her apron in the mural, said her husband, who helps manage Nonni's.

Nonni's recipes are inspired by dishes she learned from her Sicilian-born grandmother and passed down through the generations. Nonni managed her father's restaurant in Clearfield, which ran for 50 years.

Valenza stated that people will drive from Clearfield to eat at Nonni's and experience the flavors they remembered in the old restaurant.

In addition to his brother-in-law's mural, "We believe food is art, too," he said.

Hazelton will be creating two more paintings for the restaurant. His work will be featured at Nonni's for the Autumn Art Walk in the fall.

"We have his art in many of our homes," Valenza said.

The mural is "the largest piece I've done," Hazelton said.

Now that he's researched and painted a scene of the motherland, Hazelton desires to visit Sicily next year.

"It's been a fantastic journey," he said.

The restaurant will celebrate two years in business in August. The restaurant also brings in entertainment from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, with music ranging from smooth jazz to Italian ballads "and standards like (Frank) Sinatra and (Dean) Martin," Valenza said.

"We chose Grove City specifically," Valenza said, because of its ongoing revitalization; its proximity to two colleges, Premium Outlets in Springfield Township and major interstates; and its thriving school district.

"It was a sustainable model to support business," he said.

Nonni's was voted Allied News' Best of the Best in five categories this past year.

Published June 23, 2012, in Allied News. Pick up a copy at 201 A Erie St., Grove City.