Maxxels in Mineola has closed, ending a laudable 10-year run. It was 2000 when Carmelo Sapuppo opened Maxxels Seafood Bar & Grill in Mineola. Seven years later, the restaurant moved a few doors east and Sapuppo hired chef Phil Iannuccilli, who transformed the restaurant into what Newsday critic Peter Gianotti called “a beacon for refined, confident new American cooking, with snappy side trips.”
In 2008, Sapuppo and Iannuccilli went on to open PastaVino, a rustic Italian eatery in Mineola. (Iannuccilli eventually moved full-time to PastaVino and, in August 2009, left the restaurant and Long Island.) About a year ago, Sapuppo relaunched Maxxels with a more affordable menu—though, in fact, the very attractive restaurant had always offered excellent value. After visiting the relaunched Maxxels last year, I wrote, “What I like best about Maxxels is its general aura of grown-up competence. You relax as soon as you walk in the door: it’s neat and clean, service is efficient and professional, things are spelled correctly.”
Earlier today Sapuppo told me he would be concentrating his efforts on PastaVino. I asked him something I’d always wondered: Where did he get the name Maxxels?
“Before I came to the United States,” he told me, “I worked in Paris. I worked at a very beautiful restaurant, Maxim’s, and when I married my wife Kathy I always told her I wanted to take her there.” Sapuppo managed to do that before the couple had children. And the children they eventually had were named Alex and Max. When Sapuppo was casting about for a name for his Mineola restaurant, his wife suggested Maxxels, which honored both their romantic Parisian sojourn and their kids.