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San Remo, long-time pizzeria, has officially closed

San Remo

June 10, Staff Report

San Remo, the old-time pizzeria located on the corner of Vernon Blvd and 49th Avenue, has officially closed.

The owner, Paolo Cimino, has left the 48-20 Vernon Boulevard establishment for good and said he has no intention of returning. He closed the pizzeria a few weeks ago.

The restaurant had been on Vernon Blvd for well over 20 years and its old chairs and dimmed lights gave the impression that it had been caught in a 1990s time warp. Meanwhile, in recent times, modern pizzerias such as Slice and L’inizio have opened nearby.

San Remo was rated 2 ½ stars on Yelp! and its customers gave it mixed reviews.

One reviewer wrote the following:

“This is probably the longest running place in LIC – especially on Vernon Blvd.  Once you walk through the doors, it’ll look like one of those establishments from a horror movie.  Dim with one light that won’t stop blinking with an ax wielding murderer about to come out the kitchen.  

Instead, it’s just an old school place that won’t sway to the modern lifestyle that has transformed us from the stone age.  The old guy is kind of friendly. The menu sign still consists of paste on letters and numbers.  

As for the pizza, it’s not terrible…” 

Yelp!

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39 Comments

James

If you have a business and don’t care to adapt and evolve with the changing demographics, cultures and technologies of modern times then it’s inevitable your days are numbered. I was born in Astoria and I do NOT feel bad for these old establishments disappearing. If San Remo’s was so good they’d compete with the current businesses but nope it became a sign of neglect – just tired, old and embarrassing. This isn’t Queens circa 1980s with pizza places on every corner. People grow tired of eating bread, cheese and sodas all the time.




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Hmmmm

Countdown to a Modern Spaces lease exclusive and ridiculously overpriced retail location in 5..4…3…2…

Ps, the juice place is going for $9000 a month. Any takers? Anyone see an issue with that? MS are not your neighborhood allies




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mIKE GOLDSTEIN

hope it becomes a nail salon or real estate office

sorely needed businesses




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Anonymous visitor

I guess we have to respect the old LICers because they worked so hard to build the greatest neighborhood that most NYers even did not know it exists! Come on! Stop be jealous about all the rich young kids move into the hood and it’s time for you to move!




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Lou A.

Their pizza was not good at all. You couldn’t get a decent slice in the neighborhood. I’m talking about a quick slice because the Italian restaurants all have pretty good pizza. I preferred the pizza slices at the chicken place where Slice is now located. Born and raised in LIC. BTW, sLICe, in my opinion, has pretty good pizza and those mini calzones are delicious. You can get a meal for under $10. I had asked the previous owner of St. Remo if he had any intentions of selling because his location is the best, he gave a nasty response.




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Basta

Born and raised in LIC, and yet you don’t know what real NY pizza is? Something is fishy here. San Remo had classic NY pizza, and it was damn good.




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Frank Futer

No gluten-free pizza, no chairs made out of recycled materials, no tofu pizza – no room for you in spawn of yuppie-hipster LIC. I will say, the owner’s piss poor attitude didn’t help either.




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notlee

Worst pizza Ive ever had in NYC. I can’t Believe it lasted that long. An embarrassment to Italians. It was also gross and dirty in the store.




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brooklynmc

That was extremely predictable. Old timers can claim that “young stupid wealthy people” are ruining the neighborhood but the facts are that gentrification was inevitable and the businesses that were here had an opportunity to be a part of it or to just slowly go out of business. At one point, San Remo was the only real pizza place in the neighborhood. After 20 years of rising rents and dramatic change in per capita wealth, San Remo looked exactly how it did 20 years ago. Sure, some of you old timers are OK with that, but obviously, that was not sustainable in a changing neighborhood. Slice had the balls to open across the street for one reason. There was an obvious need for a decent, clean pizza place that sold slices and San Remo was just waiting to be put out of business. There was no fight at all. Easy money. My father always talks about Howard Johnson’s and how when he was a kid, HoJo’s was on top of the world. Today, HoJo’s is on its last breath.




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DANIEL RODRIGUEZ

Slice used to be palace fried chicken (which sold pizza) but they were the only non national fried chicken place to sell biscuits instead dinner rolls.




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Hmmmm

Longstanding businesses don’t just perish. Their models are based off of pricing and income that reflects their current rents and cost of goods and services.

If your rent doubles at the lease renewal to reflect current market value then you are now in a completely differen position financially.




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Brian Hinkofer

Too bad none of the people who ate here didn’t know this place when it was Tino’s. This was back in the mid 70’s through the late 80’s. This was a great place to get pizza, and it will be missed! Not only was the pizza great, but so was the calzones!

Grew up here in L.I.C, and it’s a shame that the people here didn’t know the neighborhood back then. Everyone knew your name, especially if you did something wrong, your parents would know about it before you got home! LOL! And across the street from Tino’s was Branca’s Pub as well. You would get some pizza and bring it across the street to have with your Ice Cold Beer, and enjoy! 🙂

Miss those days now. 🙁 Too bad nothing stays like it used to be, for this generation that is living in the old neighborhood will never know what it was like to live there with our friends and family, for it is a lost art and passion.




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brooklynmc

I am sorry I did not see LIC back then. I bet it was a great old school neighborhood. You are lucky to have had it this long.




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AE

Diek, their pizza sucked. I don’t know the guy, i’m judgong the pizza on its’ own merits. It sucked and was probably the worst i’ve had, apart from those dollar slices in the city. And if you want great no frills pizza, try brothers on horace harding in fresh meadows or my little pizzeria on court st in beooklyn, and then twll me again i’m not from new york. The pizza sucked at san remo. And this is coming from someone that could eat pizza for all three meals a day if i could.




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Daniel Bouregaard

Long Island city has lost almost everything it use to be. a bunch of young stupid wealthy kids moved into the neighborhood and they ruined it by paying high rents instead of caring about a neighborhood.

Mr. Cimino made pizza that was delicious as well as his calzones. It is no surprise to see the comments on the food and everyone missing the point about another long time business going away.




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AE

If the pizza didn’t suck, there’s no reason for them to have gone out of business. Not saying that slice or linzio is anything to rave a out, because theirs is forgettable as well, but san remo had, on the whole, an inferior product.
People voted with their dollars.
There are plenty of privately owned places that stand the test of time for whatever product they deliver.
If a place doesn’t stand up to expectations, much like “los amigos” or whatever was there before Hibino, they will fold.
I go out of my way for a pie from Difara’s – not because i enjoy the hour long wait, but because they guy uses the freshest ingredients, and treats each pie like edible art, rather than some pizza monopoly on a corner that floded at the first whiff of competition.




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Laszlo G.

there is a very good reason why places go out of business. They can’t afford the jacked up rent. The rent on Vernon blvd. Is so unaffordable these days. Paris will be closing soo. Reason: doubled rent. 5 star everyones favorite Indian dive, tripled their prices and when asked, the waiter replied to my wife.: “this is a rich neighborhood now.” WOW. not everyone.




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Anonymous visitor

Daniel, no way was that good pizza. Come on, now. I’ve been living in LIC my whole life and remember Tinos and a couple of the other excellent places that used to serve superb pizza. Don’t let nostalgia cloud your vision. I don’t like seeing longtime business people get run out of town, but all he had to do was provide great pizza and update his place and he’d be on easy street.




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Jon

God knows it was better than Papo Chicken/Zack’s Pizza, for those that remember that sketchy place.




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Anonymous visitor

Brothers, wow, a blast from the past. Good pizza although in that area VIP is better. Good baked clams and anti-pasta for a pizzeria (Brothers). Also, the only Karl Elhmer left in NYC (that I know of) is on the same block as brothers although it’s no longer German owned.




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Former Flushing Heights Denizen

How are Fresh Meadows establishments relevant to this Long Island City conversation? Besides, VIP is not even in that neighborhood.




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AE

The pizza was awful. I have no horse in the race, nor do i have any nostalgic ties, but if the food was good, i’m sure they’d still be around.
Again, the pizza.. Omg so awful.




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Dirk Kennedy

Truly the death of long Island City. Paolo , who is not an “old” guy was a neighborhood fixture. His Pizza was real old time New York, not fancy and not expensive. No, he didn’t have curved 4k tv’s or diver through grub hub. He made Pizzza. He put his kids through college and made a nice living catering to families that didn’t need trendy ramen or any of the other bullshit thats on th e menu these days. This is so sad. It makes me so angry that an honest hard working man has been put out by trendy joints that won’t last for 35 years like he did. L’inizio should be served in Bergdorf Goondam with those prices. As for you AE, your obviously not from new york. Cause that was what our famous Pizza tasted like. Lazy entitled brats can now go on their smartphones and order Pizza from one of the boutique places.




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Frank

Dirk, he may have been a good guy, but his pizza was cardboard with anemic sauce and low grade cheese. And grease…lots of grease. To claim that this is how “Real New York Pizza”TM is is like saying that a TV dinner is “Real American Food” because you grew up with it. Good riddance to a culinary sore on the neighborhood going the way of the Crab(p)house. The only brat here is you.




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Anonymous visitor

Dirk, please don’t make San Remo the battleground of old vs. new LIC. I was at that pizzeria many years ago, before it was San Remo, on the first day it opened. And the pizza was very good like you’d expect from an ol’ timey NYC pizzeria. But San Remo never lived up to that level. I think the last decent slice served up on that street corner was in 1979. So let go of the nostalgia and let San Remo fade away. Fact is it already had for years.




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brooklynmc

Every generation looks down on the next generation. Every generation thinks they were better and knew better than the previous generation. I will make an effort to not do this. Change is inevitable but grumpiness is not.




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Hmmmm

Could have at least invested some money in the space to revitalize it. Looks like a time warp back to 92′




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Basta

You might not see this comment, two months later, but you are 100% spot on, Dirk. These transplants don’t have the first clue what real NY pizza tastes like. San Remo was great pizza, and normally priced. All these new places are a joke. Expensive garbage made to look like trendy pizza, made by minimum wage guys that don’t have a clue.

San Remo’s closing was a huge blow for LIC. Not surprised that some of the transplants in here are happy about it.




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R185

It’s what we used to call “neighborhood pizza” — basically good, inexpensive, and indistinguishable from any other. Personally, I’ll miss them.




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Daniel Rodriguez

This make me sad. Just yesterday I was just talking about how as a kid. I remember going to this pizzeria often and playing street fighter 2 on the arcade for 2 quarters the other 2 quarters went towards the Italian ice, while the staff worked on making the pizza I was there to pick up as they listened to the Italian soccer games on that old crank dial antenna 13 inch TV, I was wondered how they did that with out cable. All the hot summer 15 minute waits in that place since it didn’t have an AC either. Good Times so long neighborhood landmark.




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