Cascarino's is looking to expand, as owner Tony Cascarino will plead his case to the Farmingdale Village Board August 6 for an interior expansion permit allowing him to renovate the interior of the building. The expansion into the ground level of the nextoor is a way for Cascarino to explore what he refers to simply as a hobby.
Cascarino's plans for expansion include taking newly acquired space in Gatto's and transforming it into an old fashioned Italian restaurant with oak flooring, copper ceilings, and brick walls covered in large paintings. In addition, the existing bathroom will be expanded to accommodate wheelchairs and the kitchen preparation area will be tweaked.
"I want to have a different type of menu -- all Italian of course," said Cascarino of his plans for the restaurant. "It'll have a San Gennaro, Little Italy, Mulberry Street feel to it. We'll have TV monitors on the walls playing old Italian movies and nostalgia all around."
Expanding the original Cascarino's has been an ongoing goal for the owner, who said that building things up is more of a hobby than a way of making a living.
"Well, we appreciate your having your hobby in Farmingdale," replied trustee Thomas Ryan.
For Cascarino, Farmingdale is a perfect spot to be able to experiment and explore within a growing business, especially for young entrepreneurs. It is because of those young businesspeople and the economy, however, that the expansion and innovation are critical.
"There are a lot of empty shops in town," said Cascarino. "I can't afford another pizza parlor to open up. Expanding what I have will hopefully keep others out."
If approved, the expansion will be another step toward transforming the restaurant into a central village gathering place.
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"Farmingdale doesn't have a café," said Cascarino, who has his eye on an outdoor garden at Gatto's to change into a cozy seating area.
"At some point, I'd like to maybe open up a bakery," he added, saying that he had been scouting spots on Main Street. The board agreed that an Italian bakery was an excellent idea.
Cascarino's will not be permitted to begin construction work until after the board issues the special permit at the Aug. 6 Village Board meeting.