First, the old Paradise Diner changed hands. Then, the Harbor Deli became a Golden Pear. Now, Sag Harbor’s long-running pizza-and-red-sauce place, Conca D’Oro, has been sold to the owners of the decidedly fancier L.T. Burger down the street. (It will remain open until the sale is finalized in January.)
Locals are wondering where the elementary school is going to get its pies for Pizza Day, and if there’s a need for a human barricade around Sag Harbor Variety or Schiavoni’s IGA., two of the village’s other iconic establishments.
Several generations of Sag Harborites have grown up feeling secure in the availability of a slice, six days a week. Tony and Lina Venesina opened their Main Street parlor in 1975, shortly after emigrating from Sicily, and began serving pizzas, as well as fettuccine Alfredo and chicken Parmesan in the dining room in the back of the store. Their son Frankie, now 42, has worked the pizza counter since he was 13, and has taken charge of the business in recent years as his dad spends more time in Italy. Frankie Venesina is such a fixture among the town’s youth that they have written odes to him and his pies for their annual songwriting festival.
L.T. Burger is a partnership between local wine merchant Michael Cinque and Laurent Tourondel, the acclaimed chef who presides over a dozen restaurants in New York and around the world. Cinque and Tourondel have said that they intend to keep the “concept” of Conca D’Oro, and they have asked Frankie to stay on for the transition and beyond.
Along with exclamations of sadness there’s been an outpouring of gratitude toward the Venesinas on the street and online. Wrote one Facebook fan, “Thank you, Venesina Family, for saving many dinnerless nights with delicious food, giving our kids jobs, donating food to endless charitable functions, and providing the best place to eat on Main Street.”
Conca D’Oro is at 103 Main St., Sag Harbor, 631-725-3167