After 27 years, a Douglaston restaurant known for delivering fine Italian dining shut its doors on June 30.
Giardino’s website displayed a heartfelt message from owner Frank Russo Jr., executive chef Mike Competiello and manager Joe Competiello letting patrons know that this was not goodbye forever.
“It is with a heavy heart that after 27 years of great food, delicious wine, wonderful people, fun times, hard work, ups and downs, we have decided it’s time to move on to the next life adventure,” read the message on the website.
Russo encouraged regulars of his restaurant at 44-37 Douglaston Pkwy. to dine at another one of his eateries, Vetros in Howard Beach. The website message stated that Mike and Joe Competiello would be joining the Vetros team as chef de cuisine and general manager respectively.
The Howard Beach restaurant, which opened in 2009, suffered millions of dollars in damages after Hurricane Sandy but successfully reopened in 2013.
QNS reached out to Vetros to ask Russo the reasoning behind Giardino’s closure and is currently awaiting a response.
In addition to Vetros, Russo also owns the eponymous Russo’s on the Bay, a popular events venue in Howard Beach.
According to a bio on Vetros’ website, Russo got his start in the food industry working with his father and uncle at Villa Russo and Il Palazzo Catering Hall.
“I always remember my father as a very hardworking, humble, family-oriented man, always taking care of his customers, making sure that the restaurant was a home for them. From my parents I learned to respect others as you want to be respected, and always remember that your work is your most important thing,” said Russo.
In 1987, Russo opened Russo’s on the Bay followed by Giardino in 1992.