"We spent a fortune and just made it a showcase," said his mother, Cissie Iannucci.
The restaurant included a 125-seat dining room, 200-seat banquet room and 40-seat wine cellar, David Iannucci said. The 75-year-old building was formerly the Colony House and the Crystal Ballroom, he said.
A new entrance to the wine cellar was just installed this month, said Cissie Iannucci. She and her husband, Jerry, own the Crier in the County restaurant in Glen Mills, but previously had operated the Town Crier.
Upper Darby Fire Marshal John Hicks said police were alerted to the fire at 3:26 a.m. when a burglar alarm went off. When firefighters arrived, heavy smoke had filled the first floor, he said.
About 50 Upper Darby firefighters battled the blaze for about an hour. The second alarm was called in at 3:46 a.m. to get more personnel to ventilate the building, Hicks said.
No one was seriously injured, but a couple of firefighters slipped on a fire escape and received minor injuries that were treated at the scene, said Fire Marshal Ed Cubler.
The cause of the fire is under investigation, Hicks said.
Destroyed was the restaurant's main dining room, which featured exposed hand-hewed beams, brass chandeliers and a large cherrywood bar. The smaller heritage room, decorated with historic artwork and presidential memorabilia, was also gutted.
The second-floor banquet room sustained smoke damage and a gaping hole in a wall.
Outside, David Iannucci pushed a wheelbarrow as workers loaded up more debris.
"I feel bad for people who had reservations for Valentine's Day," he said. "Fortunately, our wedding season isn't for a few months so we may be ready for them. We'll do it again. We'll get it together. We'll be back stronger than ever."