The day after Tropical Storm Irene last year, the younger Joe Pagano was uncertain of his future. After 20 years in the pizzeria business on Route 25 in Southold, he and his father, Joeto the Feather Hill shopping plaza and were looking for a new location.
But they ran out of options on the main road, so Joe Jr. helped out at That Little Italian Place and pizzeria, the Greenport restaurant the Paganos opened three years ago on Front Street. In the meantime, he asked Sophie Cartselos, the owner of Cheesy Charlie’s Pizzeria on Route 48 in Southold, if she’d be interested in selling.
She wasn’t ready to sell at the time. Then, months later, Pagano, 35, received news that he was going to be a dad.
“The Greenport place just isn’t big enough to support two families,” he said. “So I called up Sophie again, and we made a deal.”
Pagano’s Pizzeria opened on Nov. 15 and seems to be the perfect replacement for the popular Cheesy Charlie’s. Pagano said that he’s seeing more and more of his former clientele pop in for Pagano’s signature pies like buffalo chicken and spinach and artichoke, and he’s serving certain soups and other entrée items from Cartselos’ menu to keep her customers coming back.
Pagano said that Cartselos, who was not available for an interview, is taking a long vacation from working seven days a week at Cheesy Charlie's, which she ran with her brother, Charlie, before he died tragically in a car accident last May.
With very few cosmetic changes to the shop, which Cartselos renovated about four years ago, Pagano’s new Southold location is familiar enough for fans of both pizzerias and is proof to Joe Jr. that his family recipe has a following.
“I’m seeing more and more familiar faces coming in each day since we opened,” he said. “We seem to be catching on.”
Pagano’s delivers both pizza and entrée items from 5 to 9 p.m. as far west as Cutchogue and as far east as East Marion. Call 631-765-3400.
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