A pizzeria is opening on Vernon Blvd in the space that had been occupied by Mario’s Deli for the past 18 years.
The pizzeria, which will be located at 47-23 Vernon Blvd, is expected to open in February and represents a new era in Long Island City.
Tom Blaze, the owner, has yet to come up with a name for the eatery. However, he did say the pizzeria would be for casual dining (not a restaurant) and that he would be focusing on selling to residents.
While Blaze was discussing his plans at the new Vernon Blvd location, Mario Migliorelli (the owner of Mario’s Deli) was about 30 feet away cleaning up the empty store as he was about to hand the keys to the landlord.
Migliorelli, 61, who closed at the end of August (although his lease ends Oct. 30), said his business peaked and fell with the transformation of Long Island City.
“When I opened the deli, business was excellent,” Migliorelli said. “We had all these manufacturers—such as air-conditioning companies, Pepsi, Budweiser–and there were steady customers.”
But as the residential towers went up and the manufacturers started to disappear business began to dry up. “I did get a lot of the construction workers buying lunch which helped replace lost business—but they didn’t work all year round.”
Migliorelli said that as construction moved farther away from Vernon Blvd in recent years and new eateries and restaurants popped up business got even tougher.
“I had to rely on residents and they had a lot of places to go to,” he said.
Therefore, when his lease came up this year he decided that he didn’t want to work long hours to eke out a living. He decided to call it a day.
Migliorelli said he’s taking a few months off and going to work for Pepsi. “My wife works, so what I’m going to do…sit around at home all day?”