DES MOINES, Iowa — Beloved south side Italian restaurant and bar, Orlondo’s, is closing its doors at the end of this month after more than 40 years in business.
Known for its pizza and creamy Italian salad dressing, Orlondo’s was a staple in Des Moines and on the Great Western Bike Trail.
“It was family oriented. I had my mom and dad helping me. I had my sisters helping me. So we always strived to make the best we could and we loved it. I devoted my life to it,” Orlondo’s owner Pat Renda said.
Renda said now that he is 65 years old, it’s time for him to slow down, close the restaurant and focus on making spices and dressings to sell in grocery stores.
“I really want to do the stuff in the grocery stores and just a new adventure. My food will always be around. I’ll always be cooking. Something will pop up somewhere. I may pull in a parking lot and help a bar cook some food for them. I mean, I’ll always cook. So they’ll never get rid of me,” Renda said.
Both neighbors and cyclists say they are sad to see the restaurant close. Orlondo’s was the start and finish for bike rides for many years.
“It’s going to be a loss for the community, really. Not only the cycling community but kind of everybody in that neighborhood. There was always a good number of cyclists there but there were always people that you knew lived in the neighborhood and they were going there because it’s their local restaurant, their local bar,” cyclist Steve Fuller said.
Renda said he will miss everything about his restaurant and has a special message for the community that supported him.
“Thank you Des Moines for 42 great years. Thanks to all my great employees and thanks to all my customers. I will really miss you. It hurts to get old but thank you all,” Renda said.
The last day of business for Orlondo’s is Saturday, July 27.
Renda said eventually he hopes to open up a food truck that he can take to farmers’ markets and other locations, but for now you can find his dressings and spices in Fareway and Hy-Vee stores.