Nearly three months after it closed under a cloud of controversy, Huntington's Tutto Pazzo has been resurrected, albeit with a new name, refurbished interior and sole owner.
Luigi Petrone, the contentious former co-owner of Tutto Pazzo, is no longer involved with the business, said his brother Joseph Petrone, longtime partner and now sole owner. Il Posto di Joey, as the restaurant is now called, has undergone a dramatic face-lift — the dining room feels airier and more modern, for instance, and retains its cross-avenue view of the harbor. However, Joey Petrone said he had retained elements that longtime regulars were familiar with, such as the glass case up front that displays the night's specials, plus kitchen and front of house staff.
Tutto Pazzo operated for decades until early June, when owner Luigi Petrone made racist comments, which he immortalized on Facebook Live, about the participants in a march against police brutality in downtown Huntington. Petrone also threatened to throw watermelons at marchers.
A demonstration outside the restaurant ensued, with protesters piling watermelons out front.
At the time, Joey Petrone released a statement calling his brother's comments "reprehensible" and "shameful," and issued an apology. Luigi Petrone also issued an apology, and the incident inspired young people in Huntington to organize, and the launch of an anti-hate campaign in town.
Tutto Pazzo remained shuttered through the summer as Joey Petrone refurbished the place, which he reopened Aug. 24. Petrone said that though some of the licensure for Il Posto di Joey remains under the Tutto Pazzo name, the property is in the midst of a transfer, with licensure to follow.
The Italian American menu is more succinct than its predecessor's, but the majority of its core dishes remain, as does pasta made fresh daily, such as pappardelle (served with grilled chicken, broccoli rabe and Pecorino romano) or gnocchi, plated three ways.
As at Tutto Pazzo, daily specials are a cornerstone of the lineup, with the night's seafood and produce displayed behind glass. "These are from the garden out back," said Petrone, pointing to a platter of squash blossoms that would be battered and fried. Another bowl held tomatoes, also from the on-site garden, and slabs of salmon and halibut rested on ice a few feet away.
At lunch, sandwiches and salads fall mostly between $10 and $15, and pastas ring in below $17; the single pizza on the menu, a thin, crispy margherita, is $12. In the evening, the raw bar makes an appearance, as do appetizers ($14 to $19) like spicy crab cakes and baked clams Oreganata. Besides pasta, the kitchen plates entrees ($24 to $29, mostly) such as chicken scarpariello, veal saltimbocca and sole francese. Some Tutto Pazzo signatures linger under new names — chicken pazzo (with eggplant, roasted peppers and melted mozzarella) is now chicken posto, and so on. All desserts are still made on premises, said Petrone.
The full, three-sided bar remains, and there is tented seating out back. Il Posto di Joey is open from lunch through dinner six days a week, closed on Tuesdays.
Il Posto di Joey, 84 New York Ave., Huntington. 631-271-2253. ilpostodijoey.com