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Upscale pizza restaurant to open on Bell Boulevard

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Bell Boulevard is set to get — what else? — another pizza restaurant come fall.

But Cascarino’s Brick Oven Pizzeria and Ristorante will be worlds apart from the Italian fast food shops on the boulevard, said James Coady, the eatery’s co-owner.

“The quality of food is much different from a regular pizzeria,” said Coady, 37, who along with partner Robert Cascarino operates successful versions of the restaurant in College Point and Whitestone. “I feed my customers the way I was fed at home.”

Cascarino’s, currently under construction at 39-17 Bell Blvd., will occupy the two-story storefront with a silver facade that used to house two other restaurants, Romancing the Stone and Salmon Factory.

The projected opening date for Cascarino’s in Bayside is October, said Coady, who is also set to open a location in upstate Montgomery, N.Y.

Coady said Cascarino’s bought the Bell Boulevard building two years ago but had to replace the entire roof and make other internal renovations. Other factors holding up the construction were simultaneous renovations at the Whitestone location as well as a variance application needed to extend the top floor 800 square feet in the rear.

“We felt that without the extra seating upstairs, it would be hard to make a living,” Coady said.

Coady said the Bayside restaurant will have a brick oven that customers can see, but plans for the exterior facade had not been determined.

The restaurant will seat about 24 customers downstairs and 50 upstairs, he said. The upstairs area will feature a 10-foot bar, a factor that Coady said had aroused some public concern when he applied to Community Board 11 for the expansion variance last year.

“If you don’t have a bar on Bell Boulevard, you’re not going to make it,” he said.

But Coady envisioned an upscale date spot rather than a family restaurant or rowdy bar for his restaurant.

“I’m not looking for that scene,” said Coady, characterizing Cascarino’s bar as a place for customers to wait before being seated rather than as a destination itself.

As for the food, lunch specials will offer half a pound of pasta for eat-in orders for $5.95.

Dinners will be pricier, with a Chilean sea bass entree on the menu for $23.95, Coady said.

The restaurateur said many of his customers in Whitestone and College Point were from Bayside and had begged him to open up locally.

“I get phone calls every week,” said Coady, who added that a Bayside location would make fresh deliveries feasible in the area. “When you’ve got quality food, people know.”

Reach reporter Ayala Ben-Yehuda by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.

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