Two restaurants was one restaurant too many, Antonio Bove had to admit to himself. When he opened Pomodorino Rosso in Valley Stream in 2018, he already had Uva Rosa less than a mile away in Malverne. But that was before the pandemic and before the labor shortage. This summer he realized that he was going to have to close in Valley Stream.
“I couldn’t find people to work,” he said. “I was cooking on the line seven days a week, running between restaurants, neither of which had a full staff. It was just too much.”
Bove sold the restaurant to a family that, he says, is planning “an upscale Mexican restaurant.” They will not only have the attractive dining room to work with, but also the property’s sheltered outdoor patio.
The fare at both restaurants was Southern Italian, but Uva, which opened in 2013, has more of a wine-bar vibe, while Pomodorino had an extensive pizza menu and a dedicated oven right in the dining room. Bove is in the process of buying a pizza oven for Uva so that he can up the pizza game. He’s also bringing over many of Pomodorino’s most popular dishes such as linguine with shrimp, pesto and burrata and “spaghetti pomodorino,” which features pasta tossed with cherry tomatoes in a hollowed-out wheel of Grana Padano.
Bove regrets having to leave behind Pomodorino’s outdoor space but, he said, “the restaurant had almost no storage. At Uva, there is room to work and we have a basement as big as the upstairs with three walk-in refrigerators, a walk-in freezer and a special temperature-and-humidity-controlled room for wine.”
With the staff of Pomodorino coming over to Uva, Bove will have a full team of workers for the first time in a few years and will not only be able to focus on new dishes but “lead a normal life,” he said.
In August, Bove and his wife-partner, Carol Cesone, closed Uva for a few weeks to freshen it up. It reopened on Sept. 12.
Uva Rossa is at 243 Hempstead Ave., Malverne, 516-612-7400, uvarossa.com.