Family of beloved pizzeria gutted by blaze vows to rebuild

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Owners of a popular restaurant in Walled Lake destroyed by a fire yesterday are already looking into rebuilding.

A staple in the community, Pepino's in Walled Lake is in ruins after a fire and now the owners tell us their plans to move forward.

On the busy corner of Walled Lake Drive and Pontiac Trail, a restaurant known as a local landmark, now lies in ruins.

"It's been very emotional for our whole family; it's hard to wrap your head around that this happened,” said co-owner Kathy Bernardi.

Pepino's has been family owned and operated since 1984. The owners are already meeting with their insurance providers and planning to try their best to rebuild.

"We are pushing forward, and we are talking about our future plans. Our biggest concern is our employees,” said Bernardi.

The fire appeared to start in the kitchen Monday afternoon, and it spread to nearby apartments. There were still hotspots overnight and this morning.

The owners are still waiting to hear the results on the investigation but they say that this building and all of the equipment was very old.

Rick Sinkevics worked at Pepino's since he was sixteen.

"My grandfather who started the place was a chef at Ford Motor Company, he cooked for Henry Ford II and Lee Iacocca and he was friends with them as well," said Sinkevics. "Lee Iacocca actually ate here a couple times after we first opened."

The building itself, is said to have been a speakeasy back in the days of prohibition. The owners, holding onto that history, plan for a Pepino's better than ever before.

"So much support in this small community that we've been in for so long, it is amazing.  They're amazing people. We're so fortunate. So lucky," said Bernardi.