Owners of Robintino’s restaurant in Bountiful change their minds, decide to remodel instead of close

(Photo courtesy of Robintino's) The restaurant in Bountiful is undergoing a remodel.

Earlier this week, Robintino’s restaurant in Bountiful closed its doors, and the owners said they were done after 55 years in business.

On Friday — after an outcry from customers — Bob and Merrilee McCall changed their minds.

“We have decided to close for remodeling and a much-needed vacation,” Bob McCall said in a telephone interview. “We are definitely going to continue.”

McCall said he didn’t have a timeline for reopening, “but we want to get back into business as soon as we can.”

The restaurant, he said, would keep the recipes and menu that have made it a south Davis County institution.

That’s a big change from earlier this week, when the McCalls posted a note on the front door of the Italian eatery, 1385 S. 500 West, saying they were shutting the doors for good.

As news spread on social media, a “Save Robintino’s!” page was formed on Facebook, where customers speculated about the real reason the restaurant closed and contemplated how it could be revived.

Most of the comments mourned the loss of the restaurant that first opened in 1964 and was popular for its pizzas, pastas and complimentary breadsticks with ranch dip. For many, Robintino’s has been the go-to place to celebrate birthdays, homecomings and the end of Little League baseball season.

“Throughout my life, I have celebrated events both happy and sad at Robintino’s,” one Facebook commenter wrote. “This restaurant has become woven into the fabric of my life, and I mourn its passing like that of an old friend.”

Before national chains started serving personal pan pizzas, Robintino’s offered its 8-inch Cenetta pizza. There are other original touches, like the signature dinner salad topped with beets, black olives and a slice of pepperoni.

The McCalls first opened Robintino’s — named for Robin, their daughter — in the old shopping center on 400 East and 900 North in Bountiful, where the Mandarin Restaurant now sits. Later it was located on 500 South. About three decades ago it moved into the former Bratten’s Cove location.

Bob McCall, who soon will be 80, has spent his entire life in the restaurant business. He owned Francesco’s restaurants and other Robintino’s locations in the Salt Lake Valley.

All of those have closed, except for the one in Bountiful.