A Commack couple is returning to their family' roots by opening up their own pizzeria in Hauppauge.
Longtime Commack residents Erica and Frank Amato are serving up slices at Amato's Pizza in the Hauppauge Shopping Center off Route 347. The pair is glad to finally be back behind the pizza counter.
"My husband's had other jobs. He's worked maintenance and general hand work, but this is what's in his blood," Erica said.
The couple met years ago when Frank was working behind the counter, throwing together and serving up pies at one of his family's restaurants. His family members have run multiple locations over the years including Sal's in Sayville and Sicilia D'oro in East Patchogue for more than 30 years.
When Singas Pizza closed its doors after less than a year in business, the Amatos saw the opportunity to open a new pizzeria close to home.
"We would peek in the windows and saw that the place was really pretty," Erica said.
They quickly reached out to Erica's brother, Chris Curicio and his wife, Arlene, to partner up and create a family-owned and family-run pizzeria in Hauppauge.
Former Singas customers will notice the interior of the new pizzeria looks familiar, as the Amatos only changed out booth seating for tables. The only other major renovations the space needed was installing new ovens in the kitchen.
Amato's Pizza opened for business on Oct. 7 with a focus on serving up one-of-a-kind specialty slices.
"We want to do a lot of things that no everyone else does, like mac `n` cheese slices," Erica said.
Other specialty pieces served up by the Amato's include a chicken bacon ranch pizza and pies with a handmade garlic knot crust.
Amato's Pizza was set to have its grand opening on the weekend Hurricane Sandy struck, leaving devastation across Hauppauge and leaving many businesses without power for days.
Throughout the storm, the Amatos kept their pizzeria up and running by using generators. The store's ovens are gas operated, so there was no difficulty cooking.
"We met a lot of people who were really grateful we were open. There wasn't much else," Erica said.
As business gets back to normal, Amato's Pizza will be offering lunch specials for local businessmen, a delivery service and catering to the local community.
Both Erica and Frank hope to make their own name in Hauppauge, a town with fierce competition between local favorites such as Branchinelli's and Ciro's in Smithtown have almost cult-like following with residents. Amato's will offer something different from the competition, according to Frank.
"Branchinelli's is a restaurant with a different type of service. We're not a sit-down, formal restaurant," he said. "But if you're stuck at home in the snow, we'll be the ones who deliver."
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