NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — Long-time Metairie eatery Andrea’s will close its doors this weekend, owner and namesake Andrea Apuzzo announced Friday (Sept. 30). After 37 years in business, the renowned chef will serve his last round of authentic Italian dishes and say arrivederci to operations.

“It’s one of the hardest things for me that I’ve done,” Apuzzo said.

According to a statement, the restaurant has been sold to local entrepreneur and developer Athony “A.P.” Marullo III

In 1977, Apuzzo moved to New Orleans after spending several years studying the culinary arts in Switzerland, mastering his own style of unique Italian spices. Seven years later, Apuzzo opened Andrea’s and has been serving up the savory taste of Italy ever since.

“I’ve been here so many wonderful years. I’ve achieved all my goals here in New Orleans,” Apuzzo said. “To me, I’ve never worked a day in my life. I love to do what I enjoy doing the most — to prepare the love and passion, the food that goes to the table. The reward comes back when I go to the table and my guest says ‘wow, Andrea, we enjoy so much, mama mia.'”

That’s his signature chef’s kiss for the people who made the American Dream come true.

“That’s one thing I’ll miss the most is I go to my guests table, say hello to them and kiss the lady’s hand and smile and see the happiness in their face, the food,” Apuzzo said. “I love children. I love people and it’s one thing I love is God gave me this gift to give to others.”

Apuzzo said, he hopes he can start teaching cooking classes again at Delgado Community College in his retirement.

His staff is planning something special for him Sunday. So, stop by Andrea’s to say goodbye to the chef and hello to his new beginning.