‘Uncle Joe’ buys Parto’s in downtown Riverhead

Parto's (inset) is under new ownership. Claudio (left) and Joe Sciara from Uncle Joe's pizzeria have taken over. (Credit: Paul Squire)

Parto’s (inset) is under new ownership. Claudio (left) and Joe Sciara from Uncle Joe’s pizzeria have taken over. (Credit: Paul Squire)

The oval sign above the front door of the West Main Street pizzeria still says Parto’s, and it’ll stay that way for a while, said new manager Claudio Sciara.

But once the new menu is set up, the staff gets settled in and the town’s permits go through, that sign will come down, replaced by a new one showing the popular eatery’s new ownership: Uncle Joe’s.

Joe Sciara, Claudio’s father and owner of Uncle Joe’s, closed a sale to buy the pizzeria from previous owner and chef Frank Spatola Wednesday, and immediately took over.

Sciara — who owns Uncle Joe’s in Hampton Bays and a new location in Mattituck — came back to the restaurant after signing the legal documents with his son and attorney to celebrate. They found the restaurant packed, and immediately nixed the dinner plans, put on aprons, and got to work.

Riverhead Business Improvement District president Ray Pickersgill said Spatola sold the business, and still owns the building.

“He’s still going to have a presence here,” Pickersgill said, adding that he was excited by the prospect of new partners on Main Street. “I think it’s great to pump some new blood into the new area. Frank is a good friend of mine, but basically he wanted to retire.”

Sciara said the management was planning to “get a feel” for what Parto’s regulars like on the menu before making any changes. In the meantime, the new owners say they’re gearing up for business as usual.

“We like what Mr. Spatola did,” Claudio Sciara said from behind the counter, dressed in one of those aprons. “He built a beautiful place. We want to take what he did and build on it.”

Mr. Sciara said the family had been in talks with Mr. Spatola over the summer to buy the space. He said it was the location of the pizzeria in the heart of Riverhead that appealed to them.

“We have the South Fork, the North Fork, now we’ve got the hub,” he said.

psquire@timesreview.com