A slice of MVP pie (with stripes of marinara, vodka...

A slice of MVP pie (with stripes of marinara, vodka and pesto sauces) at Marinara Pizza in Greenvale. Credit: Newsday/Erica Marcus

At 35, Gabi Weiser is a bona fide pizza mogul: He and his wife, Brittany, own a burgeoning local seven-link pizzeria chain. But the East Hills resident hadn’t opened a Long Island shop until earlier this month when Marinara Pizza debuted on Glen Cove Road in Greenvale.

The fare may look familiar — simple cheese, Margherita, white, Grandma and Sicilian pies; more elaborate ones topped with Buffalo chicken, eggplant Parm, Caesar salad or spinach and artichoke — but the presentation is outstanding. Weiser said, “I want the counter to look like a Picasso. No old pies, every slice has to make people say ‘wow.’ ” (Large pies range from $23 to $30; slices, $4 to $5.50; personal pies, $17 to $19; personal pies with cauliflower crust, $22 to $26.50.)

The most striking pie may be the MVP, with its bright, regimental stripes of marinara, vodka and pesto sauces. Weiser says that he was the first to serve it. 

The rest of the design is as captivating as the pizza: A harmonious blend of old-school (black-and-white hexagonal tiles, rattan bistro chairs, exposed brick) and new (sleek marble counters, soaring ceilings, pendant lighting). Even the red pizza boxes have style and, stacked high on the counter or slotted like vinyl albums inside the dining room's soffit, add an intentional pop of color. “I wanted to keep that red-saucy vibe but add a modern twist,” he explained.

Marinara Pizza in Greenvale.

Marinara Pizza in Greenvale. Credit: Newsday/Erica Marcus

A Long Island native, Weiser went to college in Arizona, where he missed New York pizza but appreciated the elevated design of the national quick-serve chains he frequented. “When I came back to New York, I realized that the classic slice shop could use an upgrade.”

At 21, he put together enough money to establish a small slice shop on the Upper East Side, Saba’s, which was soon joined by a second location on the Upper West Side. “It was kosher,” Weiser recalled, “but I was proud that we had a lot of customers who were not kosher.” In 2017, he decided to try the “big leagues” of the non-kosher pizza world and opened his first Marinara on 91st Street and Lexington Avenue.

Chic and spiffy as Weiser made the six Manhattan shops, however, they all contain more than a little Long Island DNA. “The pizzerias in the city concentrate on the slices — everything else is an afterthought,” he said. “On Long Island, people expect to be able to have a meal, with a good salad, pasta, entrees.” He wanted to bring that Long Island pizzeria-trattoria tradition into the city and is very proud of his “steakhouse-quality” chopped salads ($16.50), pasta ($14.50 to $18.50, $4 more for zucchini noodles) and seven Parm / piccata / Francese / paillard entrees ($22), all of which come with pasta and salad.

So, if the average Long Island pizzeria delivers the pizzeria-plus experience, what was he hoping to contribute to the local landscape by opening in Greenvale? “The pizza scene around here seemed tired,” he said. When he came upon the still-vacant former home of Lo-cal Kitchen at the intersection of Glen Cove Road and Northern Boulevard, he jumped. At 3,000 square feet, the new store is about twice the size of his city shops. He hopes this will be the first of a few Long Island locations.

Marinara Pizza, 5 Glen Cove Rd., Greenvale, 516-559-5100, marinarapizza.com. Open Monday to Sunday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

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