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Working with my family at La Parmigiana

Faith Gambino outside La Parmigiana in Southampton, the

Faith Gambino outside La Parmigiana in Southampton, the restaurant started by her grandfather. Credit: Lisa Gambino

In 1974, my grandpa, Celestino Gambino, opened a restaurant and called it La Parmigiana. At that time my grandpa had just come to New York from Italy. My grandpa had my aunts, uncles and dad working at the restaurant because he couldn’t afford to hire anyone else. They weren’t that big back then, so they didn’t get much publicity or money. They kept the business exactly the same for 36 years. In 2010, my grandpa died of cancer and the business was handed down to the whole family, with each member getting an equal share. The only thing that made the business expand was the hospitality that my grandpa brought and that we bring today.

A couple of years later my dad made some improvements. Everyone went on with their lives though not forgetting Grandpa. We put his picture up in the restaurant. Every time we walk through those doors, we see his picture right there encouraging us to do whatever we believe in. But we always think that none of this would be possible without him.

With Dad and Mom, along with my brother, Matthew, and me, plus four aunts, an uncle and two cousins, La Parmigiana in Southampton is truly a family restaurant. I make the pizza boxes and anything else the family may need help with.

To this day we use the same recipes, but now have more publicity. Readers of Dan’s Papers recently voted La Parmigiana the best Italian restaurant in the East End. The pizza is the favorite on the menu. It is made with our own dough and a special sauce from my grandma’s recipe. Grandma still makes the caponata, which is eggplant and olives.

We now sell our sauce and frozen pizzas to King Kullen. La Parmigiana is now making food for people whom we love and who are strangers one moment, but are family the next.

Stop by! We are located at 48 NY-27A, Southampton.

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