For Lenny Lubrano, it’s all about revisiting his first love.
That’s not to say he doesn’t love pizza, because he does. But it was baking that first caught his eye many years ago, and it’s baking he’ll be doing once again.
Next door to his Jamesport pizza shop, Lenny’s Pizza and Italian Cuisine, Mr. Lubrano is scheduled to open Lenny’s Bagels, Bakery and Café on Feb. 1.
“What I’m bringing back is very Old World things our ancestors brought to this country,” he said. “Today we call it ‘organic’ or ‘wholesome,’ but it’s how we cooked and baked many years ago.”
Mr. Lubrano, 58, said the café is an idea he’s had for about five years. After North Fork Bagels next door closed earlier this year, he realized it was time to turn the dream into reality.
The space, which will retain the existing floor plan despite some remodeling, will not be a full bakery. It will, however, have a new oven designed especially for baking. The café will offer select pastries, breads and bagels. It will also have a cheese counter and coffee station, Mr. Lubrano said.
“I know how badly the community needs it,” he said of the new café. “I’m excited because it’ll be another watering hole and I’m excited because of all the jobs it’s going to create.”
In June, Dunkin’ Donuts confirmed it would open in Jamesport. Rumors circulated that it would be located in Jamesport Center, but Dunkin’ Donuts officials have yet to confirm that. Plans are also before the Riverhead Town Zoning Board of Appeals to nearly triple the overall size of the plaza.
Regardless, Mr. Lubrano, who said he considers himself an Italian-European bread baker by trade, is moving ahead with his own plans.
Mr. Lubrano’s parents emigrated from Naples, Italy, and opened a bakery in Brooklyn, where Mr. Lubrano began working at 10 years old.
“I first learned to make pizza,” he said, adding that pizza was sold at his parents’ bakery every Friday. “Then I became a baker. I remained in the bakery business until 1983, but I sold out because the business was changing a lot, so I ventured into the pizza and Italian restaurant.”
Mr. Lubrano opened Lenny’s Pizza and Italian Cuisine in 1998. He added that, despite their proximity, the new café will be a separate business from the restaurant.
“Now I’m restarting my first love again,” he said. “I’m not leaving [Lenny’s Pizza], I just get to do my first love again.”