A beloved Queens eatery that has fed generations for nearly 70 years will soon be serving up its last course.
Joe Abbracciamento Restaurant, a neighborhood fixture at 62-96 Woodhaven Boulevard, will close March 2, as longtime owners prepare for retirement.
“We just want to sit back for a little while, relax and breathe the fresh air,” said owner John Abbracciamento, 60 . “It’s bittersweet. But, basically, it’s time.”
The Italian eatery opened in 1948 under Abbracciamento’s father, Joe. Over time, it became a staple in the borough.
“We’ve taken care of people from the day they were born,” Abbracciamento said. “It’s a wonderful treat to be a part of their lives and some of the most important occasions that they would celebrate. We will sadly miss that part of it.”
Abbracciamento has known the restaurant life since he was 13.
It was not an easy decision to put it to rest after the baton was passed down to him from his late father, Abbracciamento said. But it was a necessary one.
“It was my father’s dream,” he said. “My brother and I kept it going. But I’ve just come to the point in my life where I just need some time to clear my head and move forward.”
“We had a nice, long run — a very successful run,” Abbracciamento said. “It’s just time to just relax a little bit.”
Longtime patrons said the loss of the local icon is a blow to the Queens dining scene and to the community.
“I’m sad. I’ve known them for 30 years,” said Leon Sorin. “They’ve been working hard for many years. Maybe it’s time.”
John Harrington, 73, has been coming for the “out of this world” lasagna for 38 years.
“I was shocked when I heard it was closing,” he said. “It’s a shame because you don’t have any good restaurants around.”
Ed Wendell, a lifelong Queens resident, called the restaurant “the go-to place” for Italian cuisine.
“It’s one of those places where a lot of people are going to look back now and say, ‘Man, I wish I had gone more,’” he said. “It will be missed.”