On Wednesday, Agnello’s Coal Burning Brick Oven Pizzeria in New City will be the third Rockland restaurant featured on a new Food Network show in as many weeks.
At 10 p.m. on Wednesday, the restaurant will make its television debut on "Restaurant Stakeout," joining Bardonia’s and Pomona’s as local eating establishments featured on the show.
“It was a shock to us when we were picked,” said Diane Grimaldi Agnello, who owns the restaurant along with her husband, Stephen, and their son, Richard. “There’s a producer for the Food Network that ate here frequently and liked our food a lot. Because she liked our food, she kept us in mind and suggested us as a restaurant to use for a new show.”
Agnello said they can’t say much about the filming of the show before it airs, per a contract signed with the Food Network, but added they had a good time while the show was filming.
“It was a little intimidating at first, but we had fun,” she said. “I’m hoping it will bring some new people to the restaurant, some people who might know about us.”
Agnello’s specializes in thin crust pizza cooked in its coal-burning brick over, which Agnello said runs through about a ton of coal a week.
“Sometimes places say they have a brick oven, but it’s just the outside of an oven built using bricks with a conventional oven inside,” she said. “Ours is really a brick oven, and I think you can taste it. It adds to the flavor. That’s what makes us different.”
Agnello’s opened in November five years ago after Diane and Steve Agnello sold their two other pizzerias to her brother. The two owned Brooklyn’s in Hackensack and Fort Lee, but wanted to be closer to their Highland Mills home.
“About six years ago our son graduated from high school,” Diane Agnello said. “We see this us a stepping stone. It’s his to own. It’ll be [Richard’s] restaurant once we step down.”
For Agnello, pizza has been the family business long before opening her restaurant in New City. She is the niece of Patsy Grimaldi, owner of the famous Grimaldi’s Pizzeria, which originated in Brooklyn. His uncle, and Agnello’s grand uncle, is Patsy Lancieri, who owned another famous pizzeria, Patsy’s, which opened in Harlem.
The Agnellos now own the recipe that has been in Diane Agnello’s family since 1931, and they even sell jars of their homemade sauce in the restaurant.
While the restaurant normally closes at 10 p.m. on Wednesday, Agnello said they plan on leaving the door open in case anyone wants to stop in and watch the show with those who work at the restaurant, along with their family and friends.