The corner of Middle Neck and Cutter Mill roads has not been an auspicious spot for restaurants, but +39 Italian Eatery may be the one to break the spell.
This casual cafe-gelateria-pizzeria is the offspring of La Nonna Bella, the Italian restaurant that opened in Garden City in 2010. In Great Neck, La Nonna Bella’s chef-partner, Lino De Vivo, is teaming up with his brother, Flavio, to recreate the casual eats of their native country — “39” is the international telephone country code for Italy.
+39 is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and dessert. The bi-level space has seating for about 30 on the lower level; a few steps up is where the action happens. First and foremost, there’s gelato, but instead of being made in a batch freezer and transferred to serving bins, the mixture actually gets churned in the serving bins in full view of the customers. There are at least six flavors available, including pistachio, chocolate and strawberry. (A small cup is $4.50, large is $6.50.)
Pastries baked in house include cannoli, fruit tarts, strudel, Italian doughnuts (bomboloni), croissants, mousse cakes and brioche. For a true Southern Italian breakfast, have your brioche split and stuffed with gelato. Pastries range from $3.50 to $5.75.
On the savory side, there are panini (cold and hot-pressed. $10), individual pizzas ($14 to $18), a chopped salad bar ($9.99) and cheese-and-cured-meat platters ($20). The De Vivo family hails from Puglia (the heel of the boot) and are offering two signature Pugliese specialties: focaccia with cherry tomatoes and panzerotti, fried or baked calzone ($7.50 to $9).
There’s also a full espresso bar and a selection of Italian soft drinks.
+39 takes over the space that housed the short-lived Great Neck Gourmet Deli. The deli succeeded Rimon, a short-lived kosher reboot of Sip City, the international small-plates restaurant that opened in 2010. Sip City was preceded by XO Bar & Restaurant, The Living Room, Sports Corner Café, Plaza Madrid and, back in the early ’90s, Mushrooms.
+39 Italian Eatery is at 16 Middle Neck Rd., Great Neck, 516-918-9200, 39eatery.com.