A crowd gathered at the Locale Gastro Bar & Pizzette on West Main Street in Patchogue Monday to celebrate its grand opening.
This was a celebration that’s been well over two years in the making.
It was mid-2014 that members of the Castelli family — who also own Primo Piatto in Huntington — gave themselves the green light to build a restaurant in Patchogue, explained Ariana Castelli, Locale’s general manager.
The family signed a letter of intent to lease a spot at the New Village at Patchogue complex in November 2014 and have since built a very urban-style Long Island Italian restaurant that’s nearly 5,000 square feet and sits just west of the Four Corners.
Prior coverage: Locale Gastro Bar & Pizzette opens in Patchogue
On Monday, Ariana Castelli explained to those in attendance what Locale means to the Castelli family — and, they hope, will come to mean to the rest of the Greater Patchogue area.
“The name Locale in Italian means ‘the local spot,'” she explained. “We currently have a restaurant at Huntington, and we are like the local spot. So coming to Patchogue we wanted to bring that to a different level as far as art, food, music — and be that spot that everybody calls home in a way.”
County Legislator Rob Calarco, whose home is in Patchogue, said it seems every day the booming Patchogue Village is celebrating a grand opening.
“It’s a wonderful thing” Calarco said. “My wife and I had the opportunity to eat here during the soft opening and the food was fabulous. What’s also great is that you’ve incorporated our community already; I see a lot of our local artists’ work [here] … and we appreciate that.”
The Castellis — Fabrizio, Ariana, Giuseppe and Francesco — held three days’ worth of soft openings for friends and family two weekends ago before opening Locale fully on Wednesday, March 22, to the general public.
(Want to pronounce Locale correctly? Click here.)
“I’ve been coming to Patchogue and have been out to bars, and I always thought that having an Italian restaurant like this is … that it would definitely become a staple in the community,” said Giuseppe Castelli. “We saw [years ago] the village was turning around and we wanted to be involved in that turnaround.”
“And all the restaurant owners are so hospitable,” he added.
Giuseppe, who lives upstairs in the New Village apartments, said he’ll be working mostly at the Huntington location but will be on-call as Locale’s utility man.
“I can come down and help out wherever they need a hand,” he said.
The family members also thanked the New Village developers, Tritec Real Estate, specifically the group’s chief operating officer, Robert Loscalzo, on Monday.
“We’re really excited to be a part of something Tritec created,” Giuseppe Castelli said.
For his part, Loscalzo said New Village is thrilled to welcome a white tablecloth restaurant to the complex.
“I’ve gotten to know the family over the last couple years and it’s been a pleasure to work with them,” he said. “They’re going to a great addition to the while block.”
He also mentioned his favorite dish: the eggplant parmigiano.
Ariana Castelli was the last to speak Monday during a lineup of kind words and well-wishes from local dignitaries and supporters.
“We are so grateful to be part of a community that is so full of culture, and so passionate about food, and art,” she said. “When you say, ‘Thank you for bringing this here,’ … this is what we wanted to give to the community and we are just so happy to be a part of this community. So thank you.”
Photo (L-R): Suffolk County Legislator Rob Calarco, state Senator Tom Croci aide Amanda Surber, Giuseppe Castelli, Ariana Castelli, Angela Castelli, James Castelli, 4, Francesco Castelli, Thomas Castellia, 2 and 1/2, Fabrizio Castelli, Megan Castelli, Uncle Charlie Castelli and Uncle Jack Castelli. (Credit: Michael White)