Abbraciamento’s Done After Over 60 Years
Diners across Queens were disappointed to learn of the impending closure of Joe Abbraciamento’s Restaurant in Rego Park, which is slated to serve its final meals on Sunday, Mar. 2.
The more than 60-year-old Italian eatery on Woodhaven Boulevard has been a staple of communities gatherings both large and small for decades. News about its impending demise first broke through a post on Project Woodhaven’s Twitter account last Thursday, Jan. 9.
John andMarieAbbraciamento- who co-own the restaurant with Joe Abbraciamento Jr.-confirmed the news in an interview with the Times Newsweekly last Friday, Jan. 10. John and Joe Jr. are the sons of the restaurant’s eponymous founder.
The restaurant is “retiring,” as John Abbraciamento stated, and Marie Abbraciamento indicated no other eatery would open in its place. There are no immediate plans as to what might replace the business, which includes what was once the Drake movie theater.
“After 60 years, right now we need to regroup, relax a bit and see what he future brings,” John Abbraciamento stated. “We’re retiring the restaurant, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we’re retiring. We’ll see what door will open.”
Joe Abbraciamento Sr. first opened his restaurant in 1948 at a location in the vicinity of Pitkin Avenue and Cross Bay Boulevard in Ozone Park, according to Marie Abbraciamento.
Six years later, he would relocate the eatery to its present location on Woodhaven Boulevard, adjacent to the Drake.
He would later pass the business along to sons Joe Jr. and John (who also serves as chef).
After the Drake theater closed down in the early 1990s, the Abbraciamento family expanded the restaurant into the former moviehouse; they preserved the marquee by placing a sign for the eatery in place of standard lettering.
In recent years, Joe Abbraciamento’s has hosted local community and civic groups for a variety of functions such as scholarship luncheons, anniversary parties and fund-raisers. The groups that have frequented the eatery in recent years include the Kiwanis Club of Glendale, the Greater Ridgewood Youth Council, Queensboro UNICO, the Juniper Park Civic Association and the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association (WRBA).
Ed Wendell, a contributor to Project Woodhaven and former WRBA president, told the Times Newsweekly he learned to the restaurant’s scheduled closing while dining there last week. He noted the place is special to his family, as his grandfather held two wedding receptions there.
“It’s been around forever. When you go in there, the pictures on the wall are outstanding,” Wendell said, describing some of the historic images that line the restaurant. “We might go there once every two years or so, but every time we’ve been there, it’s a real treat.”
John and Marie Abbraciamento thanked all of the customers that have passed through their doors in the last six decades, adding that the company they have entertained will be greatly missed.
“We’re closing this door, but at some point, another one will open for us,” Marie Abbraciamento said.