The three cousins who own Bayside’s VIPizza said their eatery is not only the last pizzeria in the borough to strictly serve pizza and soda, but also the only one that delivers pies to customers who live thousands of miles away.
The pizzeria, at 43−02 Bell Blvd. in Bayside, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this spring. The restaurant first opened as Bell Pizza at a site two doors down on Bell Boulevard in 1959, changed hands twice, became Ed’s Pizza and in 1995 moved to its current locale as VIPizza.
At least one person operating the pizzeria at any given time has been related to one of the previous owners, said Mike Guercio, one of the current co−owners. Now Guercio and his two cousins, Luigi Dammassa and Peter Agorious, run the operation, using the same recipes as when the eatery first opened.
“It’s an original, old fashioned−style pizzeria that serves only pizza and fountain soda,” Guercio said. “There’s no heroes, no pasta and no deliveries. If you want it, you have to come get it. Most of the people who come here have been coming since they were little kids.”
Dammassa said the pizzeria will redecorate its interior and exterior in mid−April for its anniversary and will hand out free drinks with slices and bottles with pies. He said most of the eatery’s customers have been dining there for years.
“We’ve kept the same recipes going back generation to generation for 50 years,” he said. “People move away to New Jersey or Connecticut and come back here to eat.”
Guercio said some patrons from even farther away still place orders. The pizzeria has sent pies to customers from the neighborhood who are now living in Florida and California.
“People say, ‘I grew up on this pizza, make me a Sicilian pie,’ ” he said. “We’ll freeze it and send it to them.”
He said the restaurant’s most popular items are its Sicilian, margherita and spicy chicken pizzas.
Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e−mail at nduke@time
©2009 Community News Group
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