WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – Mario Lombardo is a new restaurant entrepreneur launching a pizzeria in White Plains in June. His advantage is nearly 30 years of experience behind him.
Lombardo’s father, Mario, owns seven restaurants on Long Island. The new restaurant on Mamaroneck Avenue, at the site of the former Sports Page, will be the family’s first foray into Westchester. Mario Jr., who grew up working with his father, will run the operations in White Plains along co-manager James Romanelli.
“I’m thrilled,’’ Mario Jr. said. “I knew I wanted to do this since I was a kid. I went to college with the intention I was going to open a restaurant. I’ve been doing this since I was 12, and I feel like the restaurant business is where I belong. I think it will become a landmark in the White Plains area.”
Lombardo said the new business will be a full-service restaurant. Takeout service will also be available. It will also feature a small market with Italian specialties, such as meats, cheeses, pastries and prepared foods, and convenience essentials, such as milk and bread. The website for the restaurant is lombardospizza.com.
“It’s going to a very family-oriented restaurant,’’ Lombardo said. “We’re going to cater to families and kids. We’re looking to become a big part of the community, and doing a lot with schools and community groups.”
Lombardo feels he and his father will make a nice complementary team. Although he will oversee operations in White Plains, he will be rely on his father’s tried and tested business model to draw customers.
“My dad has been doing this a long time, and he’s very knowledgeable in all aspects of business,’’ Lombardo said. “He’s just unbelievable in pizzerias and knowing what people want. I see different aspects of the business, and I’m open to new ideas. We’ll have a little old school and a little new school. I don’t want to change what he’s done, but we’re taking it to the next level.”
With the Long Island marketplace already crowded with its own restaurants, or those of friends, the family looked to Westchester for expansion. Mario, who graduated from Hofstra University in 2012, said he and his father looked at several places.
The White Plains location is close to downtown and has ample parking, which was one of the main draws. “Parking can be so frustrating,’’ Lombardo said. “Who wants to wait to park? It’ll be good that we have our own parking.”
Lombardo said he is soliciting personnel for the restaurant, including counter help, wait and kitchen staff and bartenders. People can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He hopes to open in mid to late June. He’s anxious to swing the doors open and invite Westchester residents to taste his family’s creations.
“Speaking to residents of White Plains over the past year or so, I’ve learned that customers will tell you what they want,’’ Lombardo said. “You can identify a need by listening to people. From those conversations, I think we’ve identified that need. It’s going to be a place that’s perfect for families.”
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