Monday, February 25, 2013

Save Christiano's!

I usually have several recipes ready to go (they're the easiest posts to write, of course), and I do have several lined up for the next few Mondays.  However, I learned over the weekend that a local landmark where I grew up is slated to close and, though likely futile, I'd like the opportunity to tell you about it, with the hopes that someone (Billy Joel?, a Syosset High School Class of 1985 alum in Hollywood, with some disposable income? - you know who you are.) can save this local institution.

Christiano's restaurant, reputed, though often disputed, to be the inspiration for Billy Joel's song, "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant" is closing its doors after 55 years.  The restaurant, which is now owned by the Singh Hospitality Group, will close soon and be "reinvented" as another restaurant, though not an Italian one.

The restaurant has been an anchor in "town" ever since it opened in 1958.  Syosset residents have been going there for the pizza, the lasagne, the wine, and the atmosphere.  Just a few years ago, when I attempted to organize a high school class reunion - only a few of us were able to make it - but we went there, because it was the right place to go.

My sister had a boyfriend once, who one evening was in Christiano's having dinner when they spotted Billy Joel across the dining room.  He and his friend, knew they had to do something.  They finally decided to sign their autographs on a napkin and went over to Billy Joel and handed it to them, saying something to the effect of, "You're always signing autographs, so we thought you might like ours."  They then turned around and went back to their table.  Billy looked at the autographs, looked over at them, and then got up and went over to talk with them, saying, "I can't believe you guys did that.  That was pretty good."

My father, my siblings and I were at Christiano's a little more than seven years ago.  It was the final weeks of my mother's life (she passed away seven years ago today), and we wanted to all go out together.  We went to Christiano's because it was about family.

So, I was a little sad today on many levels.  I miss my mother.  A lot.  I'm also sad that I'm losing another piece of my youth that is being lost to time.  And I'm a little sad, because I also didn't know what to make for dinner tonight.  But we managed to eat something.

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