Dean Knuth/Arizona Daily Star

Mary and Jack Weger closed their Venice Restaurant & Pizzeria on May 25, ending a 36-year run as one of Tucson’s longest-operating Italian restaurants.

Mary Weger this week said the couple made the decision around Mother’s Day. She said the economy had gotten the best of their family-style eatery, where fans raved about the authentic New York-style pizza and pastas.

“It wasn’t an easy decision,” she said. “We were open 36 years, and a lot of our customers were older (and were losing their spouses), and people didn’t want to come in without their spouse. It got difficult.”

Venice Restaurant, at 7848 E. Wrightstown Road in the Catalina Village, at Pantano Road, had 14 employees at the time it closed, Weger said.

See more restaurant news in Thursday's Caliente.