Phil Mannino’s wife, Marie, sure could light up a room.
Throughout their 58 years together before Marie died in 2020 at age 79, the couple enjoyed antiquing in Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Connecticut and Maine. Among other trinkets, their treasure chest swelled with elegant Tiffany lamps.
Long Island diners who remember any of the nearly two dozen restaurants Mannino ran throughout his career, including O’Malley’s of Southold, may recall decor boasting these and other stained glass fixtures.
“She had a feel for placing things, she had great taste,” Mannino said. “She was a big factor in all my restaurants actually.”
Last year, Mannino started a new chapter. He closed up the booth he and his wife opened in Remember Yesteryears Antiques and Jewelry in Oakdale in 2019 and partnered with his cousin Steve Gill, a fellow antique enthusiast, to open Laurel Antiques in November.
For the 84-year-old, this new shop is a return to normal in more ways than one.
“I had my own businesses for so long, I just had the itch to get back and do it the way I wanted to do it,” he said. “I had nothing to do, I was sitting around the house going crazy. It gets me out of bed in the morning so it worked out good.”
Memories not for sale
The store is divided into two sections. The front boasts Mannino’s offerings, the back features Gill’s.
Mannino displays figurines and other novelties upon antique furniture. Such heartfelt scenes are broken up with more humorous paraphernalia, such as a drunken monkey.
Immediately beyond the front door, he placed a peach tree-like Tiffany lamp, as his wife would have.
In the hall between his and Gill’s rooms, Mannino placed some of his wares for sale atop a priceless piece, with which he can never part.
“This is a table that was in my house for 50 years,” he said. “My kids grew up eating at this table so we decided never to sell it.”
Also not for sale — although people would love to take him home — is Albert, Mannino’s 2-year-old basset hound. Above the furry friend’s blanketed pen hangs a shelf boasting a framed photo of him and Mannino, surrounded by basset hound figurines.
“Customers brought those in,” Mannino said of the many mini Alberts. “When they saw Albert they all fell in love with him and my customers — many from Oakdale — brought them in. I couldn’t sell them obviously so I figured I’d give Albert a corner and we’d make a celebrity out of him.”
Beyond the hallway, Gill’s room boasts nearly a dozen pieces of furniture he procured from a woodworker in Lancaster, Pa.
“His father and uncle took down barns for a living in the Lancaster area,” Gill explained. “When he and his brother came of age, they started making furniture from the reclaimed barn wood.”
For Gill, 63, of Patchogue, Laurel Antiques is the natural progression of a hobby turned into a second gig. When he’s not working as an auditor at Brookhaven National Laboratory, he sells antiques, including more Amish-made furniture, at Bartique Village in Moriches.
“We still trying to fill it up, get the lay of the land and figure out what people want,” Gill said of the new location. “But antiques are hot right now.”
Laurel Antiques is located at 1195B Franklinville Road Laurel, NY 11948. The store is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and by appointment.