When Sal Biundo first renovated a former Friendly's in Hampton Bays, his initial concept was an American restaurant called Hamptons Standard. After a five-month test run, however, he switched gears, closed for a month and now has repurposed the space as a pizzeria and trattoria called Salvatore's Restaurant & Bar.
Salvatore's menu focuses on all things Italian (and Italian-American), with a slice shop and espresso bar on one side and a sleek restaurant and bar on the other sporting ornate tiled floors, white-tiled walls, plenty of light and more than 100 seats. Biundo said Salvatore's is intended to be a more casual iteration of the restaurant he opened nearby three years ago, Centro Trattoria & Bar, though both spring from a lifelong immersion in Italian cuisine that began in his grandmother's kitchen when he was a kid. "I'm not a chef who was taught in school," said Biundo, who oversees both spots as executive chef and partner, "but I have a passion for food."
Thin-crust pizzas take three minutes to cook inside a 700-degree tiled gas oven, emerging with a charred, bubbly crust. Some are available by the slice, while 12-inch personal pizzas ($12 to $15) are on the restaurant menu in both red and white versions, from margherita to clam pizza to a pie topped with white truffle and cremini mushrooms, basil and fior di latte cheese.
In the kitchen is a wood-assisted grill used for entrees ($19 to $26) such as bone-in pork chops with risotto and marsala cream sauce. Appetizers ($4 to $16) run the gamut from meatballs baked with ricotta to fried calamari with marinara to cauliflower "oreganata." The pasta menu is lengthy, with all shapes (penne, bowties, rigatoni, tortellini) and sauces (bolognese, pesto cream sauce, alfredo, clam sauce, etc.) represented; al forno pastas like lasagne share the bill with a Sicilian-style penne baked with eggplant, mozzarella and ricotta in a pomodoro sauce. Panini, salads, cheesesteaks and heroes on semolina bread fill out the bill of fare, as do housemade desserts such as tiramisu and cannoli.
Salvatore's curved bar is pouring cocktails such as prickly pear mojito and limoncello martinis, which ring in at $6 during a "social hour" that runs from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. during the week (when some starters and pies are also half price). None of the wines on Salvatore's list top $40, and draft and bottled beer and house sangria are also on hand.
Salvatore's is open for lunch and dinner every day except Tuesday. Salvatore's Restaurant & Bar, 149 W. Montauk Hwy., Hampton Bays. 631-856-4054. salvatoresofhamptonbays.com