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Brunetti Pizza in Westhampton Beach closes

The "vongole bianca" (white clam) pizza at Brunetti

The "vongole bianca" (white clam) pizza at Brunetti Pizza in Westhampton Beach.  Photo Credit: Gordon M. Grant

Long Island’s most well-hidden pizzeria has gone into actual hiding: Brunetti Pizza in Westhampton Beach, accessible only by passing through the adjacent Häagen-Dazs store, has closed its tiny shop. Owner Michael Brunetti said that the pizzeria would reopen in a nearby Main Street location in 2020. “Our ten-year anniversary is Memorial Day,” he said, “and we are going to celebrate.”

The closure, Brunetti said, was occasioned by the massive construction project in Westhampton Beach that broke ground in September. Main Street has been completely dug up to accommodate a new roadway, sidewalks, storm drains and underground utility lines. Some Main Street businesses are staying open, but others have shut for the duration of the work (scheduled to be completed in December).

The original pizzeria, at 103 Main St., consisted of two counters, 12 stools, and a domed, wood-burning brick oven (known as “Bella”) imported from Naples. Brunetti was one of the first Long Island pizzerias to make true Naples-style pies: thin in the center, extravagantly puffy around the edges and droopy rather than crisp. The toppings tended toward the spare and the star of the lineup was the “vongole bianca” (white clam) featuring nothing more than fresh-shucked local clams, garlic butter and herbs.

Brunetti was founded by Michael (“Pop”) and his son Jason (“Sonny”) Brunetti, who also opened a second Brunetti pizzeria in Manhattan’s West Village. Jason moved to Florida a few years ago and is now a partner in Forbici Modern Italian which specializes in Roman-style pan pizza.  

According to Michael Brunetti, the new pizzeria (and the new menu) will be a little larger than the original, with some tables on the sidewalk. His biggest challenge is to move Bella the custom-made oven. “But I got her in,” he said, “I’ll get her out.”

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