Pietro’s, a third-generation, family-owned and operated Italian restaurant located in Manhattan’s Midtown East, is coming to Roslyn.
The Manhattan restaurant will be expanding to a second location, taking over the building of longtime Roslyn restaurant The Jolly Fisherman, which announced it will be closing its doors after 66 years in business.
Bill Bruckman is the third generation to run Pietro’s. He and his brother took over Pietro’s from their father, who had married into the family, and operated the restaurant since 1993.
The restaurant was started by a cousin of Bruckman’s grandfather in 1932, focusing on serving Northern Italian cuisine and steaks in the city.
Pietro’s was established on 45th Street and Third Avenue as a “small, little place,” Bruckman said, but relocated in 1984 to its current spot at 232 E 43rd St.
After being in the neighborhood for decades and serving three generations of customers, Bruckman said Pietro’s is typically feeding a dining room of 70%-80% regulars every night with many coming in multiple nights a week.
“They’ve been coming into our establishment for generations,” Bruckman said. “I’m speaking for the third generations like myself coming in, but their kids are starting to come in now. So we’re getting into the fourth generation now of customers.”
He said the secret to having a long-term, devoted customer base is first the food.
“Our food speaks for itself,” Bruckman said.
The second secret is their staff, with every customer greeted at the front door by a member of his family, if not him. He said the restaurant has very little staff turnover, enabling customers to foster bonds with the restaurant staff over generations.
Of their customer base, Bruckman said there is a significant portion who travel into the city from Long Island. He said this has grown since the beginning of the pandemic as they saw many of their customers move out of the city and into the surrounding Long Island suburbs.
While Bruckman and his family have been considering opening up another location for nearly 10 years, this phenomenon was the final deciding factor.
For the past couple of years, Bruckman and his family have been looking for somewhere to establish their second location. The first opportunity arose in Glen Cove.
But as they were looking to finalize that deal, Bruckman said it fell through.
Within 12 hours, Bruckman received a phone call from an old friend who he hadn’t spoken to in a while, asking Bruckman if he was still looking into expanding into Long Island.
By chance His friend was eating at The Jolly Fisherman and had caught word that they were closing and ready to sell.
Bruckman jumped at the opportunity immediately.
With this new venture for Bruckman and his family, opening a second location after 90 years in business, he is looking forward to carrying on their traditions in Long Island and on a larger scale.
“Steve [the owner of The Jolly Fisherman] was in there for 50-something years, and we hope to do the same,” Bruckman said.
Bruckman thanked The Jolly Fisherman family, wishing them well in their retirement, and said he hopes to do justice to their building.
The Jolly Fisherman will continue operating through the end of June, and Bruckman is hoping to open Pietro’s by Sept. 1.