Sept. 17, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez
Another pizzeria is in the works for Sunnyside.
Philomena’s, to offer personalized New York style pies, square slices, pastries, and other baked goods, is aiming for a late October opening at 41-16 Queens Blvd., the former site of the shuttered Dayboat and Salt and Fat restaurants.
The restaurant’s concept has been in the works for about five years, according to David Acocella, the owner, who has lived in the neighborhood for the past 20 years.
Acocella’s pizzeria, named after one of his daughters, will focus on pizza pies made in an old-New York style, with the technique all coming down to the dough and the oven.
The pies, made with a special dough that uses natural yeast, are cooked in an electric oven capable of high temperatures, which all result in a balanced, light, and airy pizza.
“It’s going to taste like bread used to taste, and pizza used to taste,” Acocella said. “You’ll taste a little difference, but your body will feel a lot different. You won’t feel stuffed.”
The 14-inch pies, while cooked in a traditional way, will come in classic and funky varieties like the margarita, made with tomato, mozzarella, and basil; clam pie, made with clams, cured meat, and ricotta; and a kale pie made with tomato, onions, red pepper, and lemon.
The squares, or Roman Taglio slices, will come in varieties like pomodorro, made with tomato, garlic, and basil; pepperoni supreme; and ricotta e mortadella.
Pies will range from $10 to $16, while Roman Talgio slices will go from $3 to $4.50.
Other offerings will include salads, sandwiches with freshly-baked bread, and appetizers like meatballs, caprese, and grilled octopus, all pried between $8 and $13.
Sweets like cannoli and eclaire will also be served, along with beer and wine.
Acocella, who has been making pizzas since he was a kid and labels himself as “kinda nuts about it,” brings a decade of experience in the restaurant industry with him to his new venture.
He’s worked as a manager at the famed Da Silvano, the now shuttered Italian restaurant, and at Arturo’s, a pizza restaurant in Greenwich Village.
His path eventually took him to pizza-making at Paulie Gee’s in Brooklyn, 21 Greenpoint, and finally under Gino Sorbillo, a legendary Italian-based “pizzaiolo”, or pizza maker, who recently opened his first New York City restaurant.
Acocella says the restaurant is a way for him to carry out his longtime passion and offer a pizza style typically seen in Brooklyn or Manhattan.
“I’ve been making pizza for a long time, and to be in my neighborhood, where I’ll have my parents and kids helping out—it’ll be the center of my universe.”