The nearly year-old Luciana’s Pizzeria + Ristorante in Port Jefferson Station has closed, and salsa will replace red sauce when Suffolk County’s second Margarita’s Cafe opens in the same space later this spring.
Luciana’s owners, Carla Fernandes and Colón Solis, will manage the new restaurant, part of a growing Long Island mini-chain with a location in Smithtown as well as five in Nassau County — East Meadow, Hicksville, Merrick, Wantagh and Williston Park.
Though Luciana’s garnered loyal customers during its 10 months in business, “We wanted something a little bit more,” said Fernandes. “We want to differentiate ourselves.”
In spring 2017, Fernandes and Solis purchased Vito’s of Port Jeff at 4747 Nesconset Hwy., added a bar and reopened the business as Luciana’s — a 65-seat spot that served takeout pizza on one side and full-service dinners on the other.
“Initially, we were going to open [Luciana’s] as a Mexican restaurant, so this was meant to be,” Fernandes said. She and Solis had previously co-owned a Margarita’s Cafe & Cantina in Wantagh, and Solis spent four years managing Besito in Huntington.
Fernandes said the newest Margarita’s will open later this spring with a menu synced to the other locations: Nachos, fajitas, salads, burritos, flautas, chimichangas, quesadillas, tamales, fried plantains and various entrees that range in price from $6 to $21. “We’ll change a couple of things to make it more unique to our area,” Fernandes said, and Luciana’s bar will be retooled into a U shape.
The Margarita’s chainlet started in East Meadow in 2009, and is owned by Willie Martinez — also co-owner of The Cuban in Garden City, along with Greg Garofalo of Lobster Shack in Seaford.