Italiana’s Brick Oven Pizzeria Bar & Grill quietly opened its doors on Wednesday night to its first customers.
“There’s been a lot of anticipation,” said Co-owner and Executive Chef Peter Angelakos.
He said people were checking on the status of the restaurant’s renovation and calling and stopping by to find out when it would open. Many of those inquiries came from patrons of the two Bergen County, NJ restaurants also owned by the partners, Roxanne’s Brick Oven Pizzeria & Grill in Mahwah and Varka Estiatorio in Ramsey.
The renovation took several months because brick ovens were added in order to create the restaurant’s “Authentic Old World New York Thin Crust Pizza.” The space for the brick ovens was added onto the building, which formerly housed Pasta Cucina.
Angelakos said the structure got a facelift inside and outside. During the renovations, they discovered a brick wall that had been covered up and decided to leave it exposed. The main dining room seats 150 guests, who can get a bird’s eye of pizza being prepared.
Every item on Italiana’s menu is offered in individual or family size portions.
“We do thin crust pizza, said Angelakos. “We do a lot of family style dining. We’re a very family friendly, kids friendly type of place.”
The family emphasis is strong among the owners. His partners in the South Little Tor Road restaurant are his aunt, uncle and cousin, Roxanne and Pete Mastorakos, and their son, Theo.
The location and size of the restaurant appealed to the new owners. Theo Mastorakos said a number of their customers at Roxanne’s live in Clarkstown and were asking them to open an eatery in Rockland County.
He said they expect to have a grand opening within the next few weeks to christen the second floor banquet room. That room is versatile, able to accommodate 100 people with a dance floor or 120 if the dance floor is not needed with a choice of either a sit-down meal or a buffet.
“We have six menus that we have for our patrons or we can create menus,” explained Theo Mastorakos.