By Arthur Bovino
June 6, 2018
I do this to myself all the time, have a project that I’m working on that sends me down a rabbit hole (pizza rabbit hole? pizza hole? black pizza hole? pizza whirpool? pizza spiral?) that’s related, tangential, not what I should be spending my time on, but too interesting to let go. In this case, I’ve been left wondering about the oldest pizzerias in Long Island. What are they?
How has this not been a topic that’s been definitively resolved? If it has, I can’t find it online. Considering the proximity to Pizza City, the number of Italian-Americans who have lived there over the decades and the strong pizza culture that exists, you’d think someone would have asked and tried to answer this question. According to the Census, of the 2,832,882 residents of Long Island living there today, 669,639 of them are Italian-American. That’s nearly 25 percent!
According to Stony Brook University’s Long Island History Journal, “By 1930, Italian immigrants had flourishing populations in Port Washington, Glen Cove, Patchogue, and many smaller, recently formed neighborhoods, like San Remo, on Riviera Drive in Kings Park, or Marconiville, a small ethnic enclave in Copiague.”
Those were good locations to start looking. And look I did, noting Long Island’s most famous spots as I went (fair to say those would be what, Umberto’s for grandma pies, Eddie’s for bar pies, Gino’s, and Little Vincent’s for the cold cheese slice?). While far from definitive, here’s a timeline of some of the area’s most well-known pizzerias and, toward the bottom of the list (let’s say the Original Umberto’s on down), a stab at naming some of the oldest. It omits all pizzerias in Brooklyn and Queens, which, while technically Long Island, don’t count for the purposes of this game—Nassau and Suffolk counties only. Keep in mind, this has nothing to do with Long Island’s best pizzerias (though a few of my favorites are there).
Funny, I grew up going to Umberto’s (grandpa John Tortorello’s favorite place) and Borrelli’s, though most frequently there for their manicotti.
If you have any suggestions for places that should be added to the list, please hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org (Erica Marcus, I’m looking at you!). — 🍕🤠
1980 Sal’s Pizza (Sayville)
1980 Emilio’s (Commack)
1980 Carlo’s Pizza Oven (Port Jefferson)
1979 Piccolo (Bellmore)
1976 Prince Umberto (Franklin Square)
1976 Mamma Lombardi’s Restaurant (Holbrook)
1976 King Umberto (Elmont)
1974 La Scala (Commack)
1974 Aegean Pizza & Italian Restaurant (Holbrook)
1974 Ancona Pizzeria & Heroes (Valley Stream)
1971 Little Vincent’s (Ronkhonoma)
1970 Baby Moon (Westhampton Beach)**
1969 Mario’s Pizzeria (Oyster Bay)
1965 Original Umberto’s (New Hyde Park)
1965 Agnoletto (New Hyde Park)
1962 Gino’s of Long Beach (Long Beach)
1958 Pizza Supreme (Garden City)
1957 Albert’s Pizza (Copiague)*
1955 Borrelli’s (East Meadow)
1947 Sam’s Bar & Restaurant (East Hampton)
1931 Eddie’s (New Hyde Park)