The well-known and well-loved East Meadow staple, Borrelli’s Pizzeria, has taken its pizza and traveled down the Meadowbrook Parkway to open Borrelli’s Taproom in Long Beach.
Located on Beech Street in Long Beach’s West End, Borrelli’s Taproom features wood fired pizza and craft beer. Taking the reins of the new location is Stephen Carbonaro, nephew of owner Frank Borrelli.
“The opportunity came up for us for that location which was formerly the Beach House which has been there for years and they were looking to get away from some of the crowds that they had and bring in some good food,” Borrelli said. “It was just a great opportunity for that area and we’re trying to mix the young and the old and combine it.”
The new location opened May 1 with a comedy show and a selection of beer. This past weekend, they fired the brick oven up and started serving pizzas.
Most taprooms focus heavily on alcoholic drinks, especially beer. But for Borrelli, there was no way they were doing this without adding their pizza to the menu.
“We’re going to offer a great product and people will come back,” Borrelli said. “We’re not going to be a typical tourist spot that just pushes out the food and people just come because it’s on the water — we want to put top quality food and appetizers.”
The brick oven pizza will be the staple. They’re adding the restaurant’s famous baked clams and white clam sauce and according to Carbonaro, they’re going to incorporate the two onto a specialty pizza.
“One pizza that should do really well (in Long Beach) is going to be the clam pizza,” Carbonaro said. “So fresh clams, garlic, parsley, olive oil, lemon — like a baked clam on a pizza.”
Carbonaro, 33, has been involved with Borrelli’s in East Meadow since he was a teen. It was one of his first jobs, and he remembers his time as the drink boy yelling out drinks and sodas as servers needed them.
“I kind of just fell in love with the pizza making process and watching it cook and bake in the wood fired oven,” he said. “It was great to get feedback from all of my friends and family, so I decided it would be cool to offer it to private parties and events.”
For the past couple years, he’s operated his own business, Carbonaro Pizza Company that uses a portable brick oven to make pizza at different locations. He also helped Borrelli’s get one as well that goes to fairs and festivals.
He’s had other jobs before the pizza company — he even worked in the beer industry brewing beers — but he never thought he’d be running an actual restaurant.
“I always said I didn’t want to get involved in that because I know how hard the restaurant and food industry is,” Carbonaro said. “But at the same time it’s also pretty fun and rewarding.”
Both Borrelli and Carbonaro said that they wanted to create a great beer selection and are looking forward to having the staple beers along with a selection of beers from local breweries.
“(Carbonaro) is taking all of his experience and we’re bringing our pizza and introducing brick oven pizza and craft beers to Long Beach,” Borrelli said. “We’re keeping it in the family and we want to become a staple there in Long Beach.”
Borrelli and Carbonaro said it is important to ingrain themselves in the Long Beach community. Borrelli has long been involved in the East Meadow community, hosting many Kiwanis events and participating in numerous fundraisers, but he hopes Long Beach welcomes them with open arms.
“We are all about it,” Leah Tozer, the co-chair of the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce, said. “Anything that’s going to be great for Long Beach and bring people here is wonderful. I love that they’re in East Meadow and they’re coming here and it’s going to bring people back and forth.”
Borrelli and Carbonaro hope the taproom becomes a beloved year-round spot where they can continue their comedy shows and bring in other live entertainment.
“The Long Beach community seems like it’s very tight and everybody knows each other,” Carbonaro said. “If we do right by everybody here, it will help us help the community.”
Additional reporting by Brendan Carpenter