White Plains has experienced many changes since March 29, 1972, but there has been at least one constant – the popular Magnotta’s Restaurant and Pizzeria at 192-194 Maple Ave.
An era will be coming to an end on Aug. 18 when the eatery will have its final day of operation after being a staple in the city for more than 47 years.
White Plains resident Angelo Magnotta Sr. is now the sole owner of the restaurant. Originally, he co-owned the eatery for seven years with his brother, John, the current owner of Sir John’s Restaurant and Cocktail Lounge on North Broadway in North White Plains. Some of Magnotta’s workers will move to Sir John’s once his restaurant closes, he said.
Magnotta said last week he works with his son Angelo Jr.
Magnotta explained the reasons for closing his restaurant. “I wanted to retire and I bought a little real estate. So my son’s going to manage all my real estate. And I want to spend my winters in Florida and travel a little bit and spend time with my family.”
Magnotta expressed his feelings about closing his restaurant. “It’s a big change,” he said. Though he feels a little bit sad about ending his business, Magnotta said, “It’s time; I’m tired.”
Though there are no plans to immediately fill his restaurant’s space, the rest of the tenants in the building will remain, Magnotta said.
Seven days a week Magnotta both manages his restaurant and does some of the cooking. “I do a little of everything,” he said.
Magnotta explained why his restaurant has been so successful for so long. “You got to give them good quality, big portions of food, at the right price and work a lot of hours,” he said, adding he typically works 70 to 75 hours per week.
The restaurant was recently honored by White Plains Police Commissioner David Chong, who gave the business a plaque and took photos, Magnotta said.
Though there have been many changes in the city since the restaurant opened, the Maple Avenue area has stayed about the same, with the exception of the expanding White Plains Hospital. “The hospital gets bigger all the time,” Magnotta said.
“I have a lot of good customers,” Magnotta said. Many of his customers work at the nearby hospital. “There’s a big hospital trade,” he said.
Magnotta explained why his pizza is so popular. “I buy the best ingredients and I make my dough fresh every day. I make my sauce every day, so everything’s fresh all the time,” he explained.
The restaurant’s most popular pizzas include Buffalo chicken, Margareta and pepperoni. Among the popular non-pizza items are chicken parmesan wedges, the chicken with hot peppers and tomato sauces entrée, lasagna and veal parmesan. The eatery’s bar offers such beverages as wine and beer.
Magnotta said many of his customers have taken the impending closing of his restaurant hard. “A lot of people started crying,” he said. “I have original customers that came with their kids. Now their kids come with their kids.”
“I had good time. I had a good run,” Magnotta mused.
What Magnotta will miss the most about closing his business are “all the good customers, a lot of friends,” he said.
Magnotta said he wanted the legacy of his restaurant to be: “That we had good food and good times.”