Tom and Helene Suozzi may not be making the chicken parm or the pizza served at tonight's opening, but the political couple has been instrumental in renovating and relaunching Glen Cove's (and, probably, Long Island’s) oldest Italian restaurant, Stango's.
Now called Stango's at the Orchard, the restaurant's timeworn look has been refreshed while still conveying a sense of the past. Wood tables and chairs, red leather banquettes, red checkered cloths and neutral gray-brown carpeting define the dining room. What's especially striking is a large photo of original owners Frank and Concetta Stango, surrounded by pictures of the rest of the clan.
In charge of the kitchen is chef Gabriel Massaro; Phil Labozzetta is the pizza guy. On the menu: fried calamari ($10.95), linguine with red or white clam sauce ($13.95), Stella’s lasagna ($11.95) and Stella’s pork chops with vinegar peppers and broccoli rabe ($19.95) — Tom Suozzi's favorite — as well as pizza ($9.95 individual; $12.95 regular).
Mini-galleries are spread throughout the restaurant; there's one devoted to veterans, another to the local church and yet another to the Suozzi family, which lived on Grove Street. “We’re inviting anybody who comes to bring black and white pre-1950s photographs,” says Helene Suozzi. Adds Tom, former Nassau County executive and again a candidate for the job: “If you want to celebrate old Glen Cove, a family party at Stango’s, bring a picture and we’ll put it up on the wall.”
Former co-owner John Cocchiola stopped by earlier today for a first look at the restaurant his family sold last fall. “They’ve done a lot of the things I’ve wanted to do, like knock down the paneling and divide the dining rooms,” Cocchiola remarks. Soon, he's reminiscing about earlier days, when Perry Como would reserve an intimate dining room for himself and his party. A photo gallery in the bar depicts Como, along with other celebs who dined there, among them Fred Wilpon, Sandy Koufax and Jerry Vale.
Stango’s is at 19 Grove St., Glen Cove, 516-671-2389.