Historical tie-in clinches pizza lease
John Peragine, co-owner of PeraBell Food Bar had his eye on the old Subway building off West Main Street for years. “Ever since Clare Rose moved out I felt the movement was heading west,” he said. So he put his bid in for a lease and got it for a pizza café. He’s hoping to seat 50 with a bar and additional patio seating in the back.
In a serendipitous twist, his new business is next door to property his uncle once owned. It was pointed out to Joe Gagliano, who owns the old Subway parcel (he’s also Bellport’s deputy mayor), by his office manager Joanne Biggs. “She said, ‘look at this survey,’” Gagliano said. “It said Nicola Peragina, by the south end of the lot.”
Gagliano brought it up in negotiations with Peragine.
“I remember working on these houses as a kid,” Peragine said, standing in front of his future business at 18 West Avenue. “Those two existing houses, No. 4 and 24, were my uncle’s. I was around 12. We did demolition work, painting. He didn’t trust me with a hammer and nails.” His uncle now lives in Virginia, Peragine said.
But Peragine also fetched coffee and food, a precursor to his future role as restaurateur.
Gagliano has owned the property for 26 years. Here Comes the Sun Inc., the business he headed as president, initially cleaned up the space, including an old boarded-up tavern. A 7-Eleven was the first tenant. “It always remained a convenience store until a few years ago with Subway,” Gagliano said.
Several interested parties contacted Gagliano.
When Gagliano saw the family tie-in, he said, “John, I think this is meant to be. The trifecta is, we’re connected to the sewer, we have parking, and it’s the most heavily traveled road in Patchogue.”
Plus, Gagliano admits he’s a sucker for good pizza.
Peragine signed on for a 10-year-plus lease, Gagliano said.
Peragine said he’d be installing two large brick ovens and a counter, with in-house dining and a separate area for takeout offering about 10 to 15 varieties of pies in the 2,400-square-foot space. “The oil has to be Italian, 00 flour from Naples, San Marzano tomatoes,” he said. “It’s a good start for us. The Department of Health will be our longest hurdle.” He’s calling his pizza café Donatina.
Mayor Paul Pontieri put it succinctly. “It’s got what you need,” he said. “Over the years it was a 7-Eleven and because we had 7-Eleven up the block and Dunkin’ Donuts, its chance of surviving was slim, but for what John wants to do, it has parking and the plan is to stay open later at night, so it played very well into what’s happening on Main Street.” Pontieri said it has to go through the planning board and architectural review board process.
One more thing. “It’s also down the block from Fire Island for people to grab a slice,” he said.
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