The new owners of LoPiccolo's Pizzeria and Restaurant are hoping to bring authentic Italian cuisine back to Hauppauge.
Partners Adam Gold, of Westbury, and Rocky Napoli, of Commack, celebrated the grand re-opening of LoPiccolo's Pizzeria on Route 347 late on July 3, after more than two months of renovations.
"It wasn't really that long but for us it felt like an eternity," Gold said.
The partners purchased LoPiccolo's Pizzeria & Ristorante from Hauppauge residents Benny and Rhandi LoPicolo April 18. Gold said he was searching for the ideal location for a pizzeria in the Hauppauge/Smithtown area and realized it was the ideal spot to take over.
"We wanted to get something in the Smithtown-Hauppauge area as we know its a great area, and we fell in love with this location," Gold said. " What we really fell in love with was the space, the town and the surrounding community."
Demolition began immediately on empty storefront, once adjacent to LoPiccolo's, as Gold and Napoli knocked down the walls to expand the dining area of the pizzeria. The space has been transformed with new tiled floors, chairs, tables and a fresh coat of paint.
Gold said it's been his personal goal to get back into working in the restaurant industry. He met his wife while in culinary school in 2006, and then took up working for several large business firms while catering out of Massapequa.
His partner, Commack resident Rocky Napoli, has been in the restaurant industry his entire life. Napoli, an immigrant from Calabria, Italy, knows his way around pizza. He previously helped his brother run Atlantic Pizza in Freeport.
"It's a perfect fit for both of us. He's up front making the pizzas and I come from a business background," Gold said.
Together, the pair said they hope to bring an infusion of Italian flavor to Hauppauge. The key will be Napoli's family recipes, passed down carefully from generation to generation.
"His mom comes in and cooks in the kitchen here a couple days a week, teaching him all the recipes. She was here on opening day, helping out in the kitchen," Gold said. "It's a real authentic Italian taste we are trying to bring to town."
LoPiccolo's new menu will be very similar to Atlantic Pizza in Freeport, who the new restaurant will be affiliated with. There's an extensive list of appetizers, salads, antipasta, pizza and entrees to try and if they don't have it - just ask.
"If anyone request anything we don't have, 'no' is never going to be our answer. We will get whatever ingredients we need and cook it up for them. We are here to please the customers, that's our main goal," Gold said.
Yet, Hauppauge residents who stop by for a bite will find familiar faces behind the counter and serving customers. The new owners have decided to keep most of LoPiccolo's staff onboard.
"We were happy they stayed on with us and waited patiently as we got this place up and where it had to be to open," Gold said.
The new owners said they've been given the blessings by Benny and Rhandi LoPiccolo to keep and use the LoPiccolo name.
"It's a great name and we wanted to make it as convenient as possible for everyone involved," Gold said.
The new restaurant currently sits roughly 50 customers, but once obtaining their official certificate of occupancy from the Town of Smithtown will be applying for roughly 100 additional seats. It's expanded dining room can also be divided into a party room.