By Mark Hallum
Bart Troiano, a third-generation Italian American, opened Boardwalk Pizzeria & Restaurant in April 2013 after having left his father’s business, an Italian restaurant on Long Island.
Just down Beach 67th Street under the A train in Rockaway, Troiano’s pizza parlor draws a crowd that ranges from beach bums to weekenders whenever the weather gets warm.
“I love Rockaway. It’s very unique and a great spot,” Troiano said.
Although Hurricane Sandy took its toll on the pizzeria early on, Troiano and his partners didn’t back down.
“We were under construction when Sandy hit and it set us back,” he said. “We ended up opening in April the year after the hurricane.”
Troiano’s perseverance has paid off. Since Boardwalk’s belated opening, it has gained a vocal following. Along with many local residents, Yelp reviewers have made their positive opinions of the spot known.
According to manager Mel Treminio, the neighborhood of Arverne has changed tremendously since the restaurant opened. Large, white vacation homes have sprung up along the beach and contribute to seasonal surges in the customer base for the pizzeria.
Treminio says that the most popular choices for customers are the Buffalo chicken and the baked ziti pizzas. The ziti is a round pizza with pasta baked into the crust and topped with mozzarella and ricotta cheese.
This is just the beginning of the creativity at Boardwalk. Their full menu consists almost entirely of standard Italian dishes, but in the form of pizza.
Troiano cites several sources for Boardwalk’s success.
“My father has an Italian restaurant in Long Island. What I know about business, I learned from my father and what I learned about the pizza business, I learned from my partners,” Troiano said.
Located at 68-20 Rockaway Beach Blvd., the restaurant is close enough to the ocean to let patrons wander from their beach towels to its outdoor seating area, where they can enjoy a slice with little interruption of summer activities.
Boardwalk’s options go way beyond the standard slice with cheese, including such healthy options as a battered eggplant hero, sauteed assorted vegetables and seafood favorites like calamari, or mussels in red or white sauce. There is even an entire section on the menu reserved for veal, giving further proof that Boardwalk Pizzeria & Restaurant is far more that just pizza.
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall