PLATTSBURGH — Owner Paolo Magro has returned his Little Italy brand to downtown Keeseville.
The restaurant is located at 1711 Front St, which hasn’t housed a restaurant in three years.
“So far, there has been a good response,” Magro said. “We will try our best to please the community.”
Magro first opened a Little Italy in Keeseville in 1989 and operated there for about five years. The restaurant was sold multiple times and was most recently Papa’s Pizzeria, which closed in 2010.
General Manager Richard Corbel said many of the people he’s talked with fondly remember Magro’s recipes, which has helped them get off to a good start.
“The quality and flavor hasn’t changed,” Corbel said.
The restaurant offers regular crust, Sicilian and 18-by-25-inch sheet pizza.
In addition to pizza, the menu includes pasta; chicken, veal and seafood dishes; hot and cold subs; wings; salads; and appetizers, such as garlic knots.
“There are even some gluten-free items, including pizza,” Magro said.
Catering is also available, as long as orders are placed at least two days in advance.
Magro said he has applied for a beer and wine license, but has yet to receive it.
The restaurant has seating for about 80 people. He said the interior underwent extensive renovations, including new drop ceilings.
Large, open-backed shelving separates the front from the main dining area. Deep brown wood tables, padded seats and ceiling fans provide a comfortable dining environment.
Tile floors make for easier cleaning, Magro said.
BORN IN SICILY
Originally from Sicily, he moved to the Utica area in 1984, where some of his relatives lived.
Magro opened his first pizza shop in Deposit, near Binghamton, then sold his share of that business and moved back to Sicily.
After a couple of years, he returned to the United States. He met his future wife, Bonnie, while visiting family in Montreal, and they later opened a pizza place in Huntingdon, Quebec.
Two years after that, he opened Little Italy in Keeseville and another one in AuSable Forks two years later. That was followed by restaurants in Saranac Lake, Potsdam, Tupper Lake and Ogdensburg.
He opened Nonna Fina in Saranac Lake in 2010. That is more of a full-scale restaurant and is named after his grandmother, or nonna in Italian.
Magro still owns that restaurant, as well as the Little Italy locations in Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake and Potsdam.
He and his relatives own about 40 restaurants across the state of New York.
“We love to eat, and we love to cook,” Magro said.
His two sons, Vincenzo and Nicholas, are in college, but enjoy helping out in the restaurants when they can.
Magro said he always has a lot of future projects in his mind. He is considering opening places in Plattsburgh and Lake Placid.
He has 12 people on the payroll at the Little Italy in Keeseville, some of whom are putting the finishing touches on their training. Once everyone is comfortable, he plans to hold a grand-opening celebration.
The community has been very supportive, he said.
“Thank you very much to the community of Keeseville. It’s very important to have that support.”
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