Thanks to strong community support, the owners of Chefs of New York Pizzeria in East Northport were able to reopen their doors after being vandalized recently. Credit: Newsday / Raychel Brightman/Raychel Brightman

The charitable spirit of an East Northport pizza parlor owner at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic returned full circle this week when another locally owned business helped him reopen after his shop was burglarized.

Michael Alfano, who owns Chefs of New York on Larkfield Road and manages it with his son, Michael Alfano Jr., said that when he walked into his shop Monday morning, it was almost unrecognizable. Broken glass was everywhere.

"The whole inside of the store when I walked in was vandalized. They broke the showcases, the glass, they pulled everything down off the shelves. They broke the wine bottles," the elder Alfano told Newsday on Wednesday. "It especially hurt because it was the busiest time of the year — this is the busiest week of the year."

Suffolk police said Wednesday an investigation into the burglary at the pizza parlor is ongoing. Cops said they suspect "a person or people pried open the rear door" and "stole money and damaged items."

Alfano, whose business opened 33 years ago, said that in the spring his son launched a pie-per-pie donation program. If a customer donated a pie, the shop would match the donation. Pizzas were shipped to local hospitals and a school district, he said.

The shop donated about 2,600 pizzas, Alfano said, which "really made us feel really good" because they were helping during the crisis.

Inside his store Wednesday, Alfano recalled how after the shock of being vandalized wore off, he and his son began cleaning up the mess. Helping out was an employee from nearby Dial A Glass and Screen Inc. who replaced the broken glass. The store, Alfano said, opened again Tuesday.

"With the help of the community, and friends and my crew, we were able to get the place up and running by the next day," Alfano said, noting how his business was able to reopen without the help of a fundraiser.

Alfano said there are "great people in this town. I can’t tell you enough."

Aidan Murtagh, of East Northport, said the pizza shop is a "great spot to just grab a slice."

He lamented the apparent senseless vandalism that victimized the Alfanos, who treat patrons like they're family, Murtagh said.

"It was pretty unbelievable that a place that was so good to the community, the neighborhood … would just get destroyed for absolutely no reason," he said.

While at the restaurant, Murtagh said he was pleased to see the Alfanos back on their feet.

"It seems they are bouncing back rather quickly — which is great."

Suffolk police urge anyone who has information about the burglary to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS.

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