Large cans of imported Strianese tomatoes are among the items...

Large cans of imported Strianese tomatoes are among the items sold at DiCarlo Food Service Cash and Carry in Holtsville. Credit: Newsday / Erica Marcus

If DiCarlo only sold canned tomatoes, it would still be worth a trip to Exit 63 on the Long Island Expressway.

The Holtsville-based company, founded in 1963, is one of the metropolitan area's largest food distributors, supplying restaurants, pizzerias, hotels and institutions. The "Cash & Carry" store opened 28 years ago to serve "the mom and pop pizza places that can't make the minimum delivery order," said DiCarlo's marketing coordinator Karen Martin. From the beginning it was also open to the public.

The vast DiCarlo warehouse (5 million cubic feet) stocks more than 10,000 items. The Cash & Carry is about the size of a 7-Eleven and carries about 800 items, according to manager Bob Spera. The selection is indisputably pizzeria-centric with a terrific selection of canned tomatoes. If you're making a big batch of marinara sauce, you could hardly do better than a 5-pound can of Strianese San Marzano D.O.P. tomatoes for $8.99. Less vaunted cans are even cheaper. For the quantity-averse, 14-ounce cans of Strianese San Marzanos tomatoes and pomodorini (cherry tomatoes) are 99 cents apiece.

Other treasures: Hellmann's Extra Heavy mayonnaise, thicker than regular thanks to more eggs and added yolks, is usually only available through wholesale distributors. Here it's $14.99 for a gallon. A gallon of Fox's U-Bet chocolate-flavored syrup is $12.99; a 20-pound bag of Carolina rice is $22.99; a package of 30 frozen Gabila's knishes is $29.99; Rummo pasta, imported from Campania, Italy, is $1.55 a pound for most shapes.

Cash & Carry is open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

DiCarlo Food Service Cash & Carry
1630 N. Ocean Ave., Holtsville
631-758-6000 ext. 350