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Popular Sunnyside Pizzeria Closes, Owner Opening New Restaurant in Italy

A beloved pizzeria in Sunnyside (R) has shuttered after a four-year run and its owner David Acocella (L) is moving to Italy to open a new restaurant. (Photo: Instagram (L) and Google Maps (R))

Oct. 17, 2022 By Michael Dorgan

A much-lauded pizzeria in Sunnyside has shuttered and its owner is moving to Italy to open a new restaurant.

Philomena’s, located at 41-16 Queens Blvd., closed Friday after a four-year run. The pizzeria announced via a series of Instagram posts last week that its owner Dave Acocella is moving overseas.

“Dave Acocella, is taking full advantage [of] a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and moving to Naples, Italy to open a pizzeria!!!” the restaurant posted.

“Sure, it’s a bit longer than a 7 train ride away, but think of how much more fun you will have munching on Dave’s New York-style Neapolitan 12″ pies in ACTUAL NAPLES!!!”

Philomena’s was known for its New York-style pizza that was made with a special dough using natural yeast. The pies were baked in an electric oven capable of high temperatures, which resulted in a balanced, light, and airy pizza, Acocella told the Sunnyside Post in 2018.

Customers could purchase full pies, square pies and slices. The pies came in a variety of flavors including classics such as the “Neapolitan margherita” and the “beef pepperoni.”

The eatery also offered funky varieties such as the “ninja turtle,” “dragon breath,” “raging bull” and the “spicy Mikey.”

Acocella said the pizzeria slung its final slices Friday in a final-day celebration. The eatery was forced to close at 6 p.m. as it ran out of pizza due to high demand. It was initially scheduled to stay open until 10 p.m., he said.

“Surprised but grateful for such [an] overwhelming turnout,” Acocella wrote on Instagram.

“Showing your love for our pizza in full force, it was an honor making pizza for all that walked thru our doors yesterday and everyday over the past 4 years.”

Philomena’s was hugely popular among residents. It had a 5-star review on Google (out of a possible 5) based on 231 reviews.

Last year the establishment was listed as one of the top pizzerias in New York State by Food & Wine Magazine.

The restaurant thanked all of its customers for supporting the business.

“Words cannot express how much these four fantastic years at 41-16 Queens Boulevard in Sunnyside, Queens have meant to us,” a post on the company’s Instagram page read.

“We have felt the 🍕❤  every minute and we truly thank you all.”

Acocella said he will return to the neighborhood during the holidays and plans to organize a few pizza pop-up restaurants, although he did not provide any details.

“Stay tuned, my pizza journey is just starting,” Acocella wrote.


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A post shared by Dave Acocella (@daveacocella)

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Wonderful pizza, with “Spikey Mikey” my special favorite. Relatively new when the Pandemic started and forced long closure and just semi-reopening. Will be much missed, as menu was unique for the area.


All I can say is, thank goodness for Enzo! Best of luck in Italy, and thanks for all the great pies.

David Smith

I wonder how long he’ll last in southern Italy? I’ve had pizza at L’antica Pizzeria Da Michele in Naples, a city where there’s no shortage of really good pizza. Good luck!


Dave had a great business with delicious pizza. He’s also one of the nicest people and hard worker. I can only wish him and his family the best on his move and new life in Italy!

Pliny the Younger

Geologically speaking, Vesuvius is getting close to another Pompeii level eruption.

lucky number 7 train

will be missed very much. Such great pizza! with kind people. Best of lucky in Naples.


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