Tony Rubano — who, with wife, Carolyn and son, Brad, owns The Pit Stop in Merrick — gets a shot at stardom this Monday night at 9 p.m. That's when the popular little eatery will be featured on Food Network’s "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" with Guy Fieri.
It took two full days in early October to film the show, Rubano said – the first spent with the production crew and the second with Fieri. Rubano cooked three dishes: spaghetti squash primavera, a hot Cuban sandwich and a teriyaki salmon salad. Although viewers may see each dish being made once, Rubano actually made them a total of six times.
The Pit Stop may look like a typical fast food joint, but virtually everything served is made from scratch. When Fieri first pulled up to the restaurant, Rubano said, he confided that his initial thought was “Not another burger place.” But then, the host got the full picture: this was a serious crew engrossed in filleting salmons, cooking pork shoulders, making 8-hour marinara sauces. All in a tiny kitchen.
How did The Pit Stop come to be on the show? Unbeknownst to the Rubanos, customers had been writing in for years to suggest the place. “That people took time to write to these people and tell them what we do here – to me, that’s really the best,” Rubano said.
The Rubano family also owns Wildfish in Freeport, where Brad is executive chef.
The Pit Stop is at 1706 Sunrise Hwy., Merrick, 516-223-7799