The hot porchetta panino with house-made Tuscan potato chips at...

The hot porchetta panino with house-made Tuscan potato chips at Arrosto in Farmingdale. Credit: Leslie Kahan

From the parking lot outside Arrosto, his Farmingdale takeout shop, Ken Arnone could see the Turbulence roller coaster at neighboring Adventureland Amusement Park. Since he opened in 2019, Arrosto has had almost as many ups and downs. Now he has stepped off the ride and closed for good.

It sounded like a safe bet, opening an Italian-accented fast-casual spot on Route 110. Arnone, a hospitality veteran and former instructor at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, put his consulting business on the back burner to come up with the concept: A tight menu of Italian-accented items that could be either be cooked quickly to order or would hold well) throughout service. The stars of the show were a five-spice chicken and a porchetta-seasoned roast pork that showed up in platters, family meals and panini.

The location, he thought, was a slam-dunk. His research told him there were more than 3,000 businesses within three miles of "his" intersection, about 2,500 residences and a college (Farmingdale State College) right across the street, not to mention easy access to the Long Island Expressway.

Unfortunately, he said, "I failed to put pandemic in the business plan."

Less than three months after Arrosto opened, the pandemic temporarily shuttered most of those businesses and emptied out the college.

Arnone closed Arrosto in March 2020 but in Jan. 2021 he began seeing more traffic on 110 and he reopened. Since then, he said, "It’s been frustrating. We’ve tried so many things — ads, coupons, changing up the menu — but just when we think we’ve got a handle on the situation, the pattern changes."

"At some point," he continued, "you have to say, ‘we’re throwing good money after bad.’ In the end, I guess the timing just wasn’t right."

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