One of Long Island’s best-known coal-oven pizzerias has gone out not with a bang but a whimper. Massa’s of Huntington, which had fallen on hard times of late, has closed.
The restaurant’s address was 80 Gerard St., but the entrance fronted on the municipal parking lot north of Main Street. This was Massa's second location, and it was no easier to find than the first.
In 2004, Bill Massa opened Long Island’s second coal-oven pizzeria (the first was Salvatore’s in Port Washington) in a strip mall on Jericho Turnpike that was hard to see whether you were traveling east or west. Massa was a disciple of his uncle, pizza progenitor Patsy Grimaldi, and he adhered to Grimaldi’s rules of coal-fired pies: well-done crust, spare toppings, fresh mozzarella and, famously, “no slices.”
Massa sold that store in 2009, after which it became Christian’s, Monaco’s and, most recently, Ramo’s. It took him five years to find a new location; in 2014 he and partners opened the Gerard Street pizzeria. There, his white pizza with scamorza, scallions and pancetta (I always asked them to leave off the truffle oil) was a fixture on Newsday’s list of Top 10 Pizzas worth the drive.
Last year, that pie did not make the list. Massa’s attention was focused on his new pizzeria in Long Island City, which opened at the end of 2018. Around that time he left the Huntington restaurant (the “Massa’s” on the sign was painted over) and his former partner, Andrew McNulty, changed the name to Pazzo Paisanos.
That restaurant closed about a month ago, but the lease has been taken over by the owners of neighboring bar, The Rust & Gold. No name has been chosen, said partner Frank Antonetti, and they are shooting for a September opening.