I was three years old when Fay DiPiro opened Fay's Knotty Pine in 1961 in the red brick Cobbs Building on Acushnet Avenue in the North End of New Bedford.

Everything about Fay's Knotty Pine was legendary, but as I look back 63 years later, what I remember most about Fay's through the years was the pizza.

I also remember the dance studio our parents sent us to as pre-teenagers on the floor above Fay's as part of their effort to civilize us by introducing us to culture. I digress.

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When Fay was 12, her family, parents Frank and Raphaela Costa and two young siblings emigrated to America from Fabrizio, Italy. They settled in New Hampshire, where her dad opened a cobbler shop. Fay learned how to cook from her mother.

Fay married Chef Alexandra DiPiro, and their daughter Evelyn was born in 1938. The Fay's Restaurant website says, "After years of working in restaurants in New York, Vermont, and Florida, Fay, Alexander, and Evelyn settled in Fairhaven."

The couple worked at various area restaurants until Alex died from cancer in 1958. Three years later, his widow launched Fay's Knotty Pine.

Fay's Knotty Pine Was A New Bedford Landmark For Decades
Barry Richard/Townsquare Media

Fay retired in 1983, and Evelyn took over Fay's. The restaurant cultivated a large and loyal following. In 1999, Evelyn told the Standard-Times, "We are like the 'Cheers' of the North End," referencing the popular television program about a fictitious Boston-based bar "where everyone knows your name."

Evelyn said of Fay's popularity, "We make everything fresh, and we make everything to order."

Fay's Knotty Pine closed in 2000 when Brooks Pharmacy bought the Cobbs Building, demolished it, and built a pharmacy. Today it is a Dollar Tree.

Evelyn opened Fay's, Too in South Dartmouth two years before the Knotty Pine closed. It operates today under the name Fay's Restaurant.

Fay DiPiro passed away on January 31, 2006. She was 86.

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