By Danny Schrafel
Family-style Italian dining has arrived in Huntington village, and it’s fitting that the man at the helm comes from a long line of prominent Huntington restaurateurs.
Al Salese, owner of Eatalia at 34 New St. in Huntington village, has for more than 30 years owned Junior’s Pizza in Halesite, founded by his brother Frank in 1982. He took the wheel in Halesite in 1984 after graduating college.
“I was going to go to law school, and decided to give the family business a shot,” he said. “Then, I took Mark [Salese, now owner of Almarco in Huntington village] in as a partner, and the rest is history.”
Open a little more than a week, Eatalia is fine Italian cuisine served family-style in large, sharable platters.
The interior, created by his daughter, Alyssa, a recent Manhattan College graduate and graphic designer, is sleek, yet homey, marrying muted gray and slate colors with rich blues and brick accents. He’s thinking black-and-white art will soon adorn the walls, Al said, keeping with the urbane, yet comfortable, feel.
There’s also a private party room that seats about 30, and a café concept which focuses on fast casual favorites like pizza, Panini, wraps and salads. There, a $9.99 lunch menu is available.
Eatalia gives some of Al’s more senior staff to enjoy new opportunities in the restaurant business, he said.
"I have a lot of older, responsible people working for me," he said. "This is a great opportunity for them to stay in the business and stay with me."
And that’s been his secret to success all along.
“Surround yourself with the good people, and the good things happen,” he said.
For more information, call the restaurant at 631-629-4551.