If you’re a fan of Medford Pastaria on Horse Block Road but you live closer to the water in Greater Patchogue, you’re about to cut your commute for Italian food.
That means more time at the dinner table.
Patchogue Pastaria has been in the works at the old Friendly’s location next to the Swan River Preserve, and owner John Ficarra is aiming for a spring opening.
Not only that, Ficarra is planning to open a outdoor area overlooking the neighboring preserve, with room enough for 80 diners.
The interior space will hold 40, he said.
“It’s going to be a big transformation from what it looks like now,” he said of the top-down renovation.
The concept and menu will be the same as in Medford, with traditional Italian offerings from baked ziti and shrimp parmigiana to chicken cacciatore and frutta di Mare.
Click here to check out the dinner menu.
And, of course, plenty of pizza, calzoni, zeppole, rice balls and pepperoni or sausage rolls to be had.
Ficarra said the decor in Patchogue will be less ornate than in the Medford location.
“It’s going to have a city feel to it,” he said.
Ficarra, who live nearby in East Patchogue, opened Medford Pastaria as a small pizzeria in Medford in 1994 in what’s now the Dollar Tree Plaza.
He moved to the larger location just a few doors down about 10 years later.
In the last 22 years, he’s helped open other Pastaria locations on the island but isn’t affiliated with any restaurant other than the one on Horseblock.
When the doors open at the new spot, he’ll have both ends of the school district covered with his Patchogue and Medford locations.
Ficarra said he had been working in pizzerias in the city since he was just 9.
“Since I was a little kid; I’ve worked in pizzerias my whole life,” he said. “I went from a dishwasher, started making heroes, and then pizza. Then the guy was selling the store in Medford and I drove out here [from Queens] and saw the the place and I and bought it. And that was it.”
Photos of Medford Pastaria by Michael White/greaterpatchogue.com