Astoria restaurant Sac’s Place keeps an Italian tradition alive with 23rd annual Abruzzo Pig Roast

Brothers Domenico and Anthony Sacramone, owners of Sac’s Place in Astoria. (Photo courtesy of Sac’s Place)

There are few New York City Italian restaurants that stay as true to their heritage as Sac’s Place in Astoria.

Brothers and owners Anthony and Domenico Sacramone will host the Abruzzo Pastoral Nights at Sac’s Place, located at 3511 35th Ave. on Nov. 4 and Nov. 11, in celebration of their Italian roots. This year marks the 23rd annual event.

The traditional pig roasts have become a signature event for the brothers, who started the feast in honor of their family tradition.

“We are a family-owned restaurant business, so we always try to include how we lived our lives as how we promote ourselves,” Domenico said.

Abruzzo, the little-known region in Italy where the Sacramone family used to call home, is a bountiful location between the mountains and sea that provide the five basic food groups of their cuisine: bread, pasta, cheese, meat and wine.

Growing up, their parents and grandparents would tell them stories about living in Italy and about the harvest every fall. According to Domenico, if it was a great harvest, as their family was able to buy multiple pigs and preserve them as prosciutto and other foods. They would also roast a pig, get together with other families and have a day of honoring and being grateful for a good harvest.

“We love pig, and we love to roast, so we tried it one year, and people loved it,” Domenico said.

Coming out of the pandemic, Domenico said they lost a lot of regulars who moved out of the city, which is why this year is even more important to re-engage with the community.

Sac’s Place will celebrate their 23rd annual Abruzzo Pastoral Nights on Nov. 4 and 11. (Photo courtesy of Sac’s Place)

“I hope to see some of my old customers and some new customers, so they can come and see what we’re all about and just enjoy the night,” he said.

The all-you-can-eat festivities begin at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 4 and 11. People show up a little bit early to hang out at the outside bar and watch the two pigs being roasted, which starts as early as 7 a.m.

The night will start out with antipasto and mini sausages and end with a feast on baby piglet, stuffed cabbage, yams, potatoes, asparagus and dessert. A full bar is available, with a list of suggested wines.

Photo courtesy of Sac’s Place

The cost of the dinner is $65 per person, not including drinks, tax and gratuity. Reservations are required and spots usually sell out, so the owners advise guests call Sac’s Place before it fills up.

“If you want a meal that’s cooked [in] the same tradition that’s passed down from generation to generation, Sac’s is the place to go,” Domenico said. “It’s a tribute to our ancestors, starting with my parents and the generations before them, and it’s just been something we like to share with other people.”

Just this past weekend, Sac’s Place was one of the recipients honored by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney with “Certificates of Special Congressional Recognition,” which went to community organizations, restaurants and volunteers who worked with Queens Together to feed neighbors and front line workers during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The restaurant was recognized for delivering food during the peak of the pandemic at all times of day — even at 2 a.m. — to multiple hospitals throughout Queens when the borough was known as the “epicenter of the epicenter” of the pandemic. They wanted to help feed the overworked hospital workers by providing high-quality, nourishing food.

Sac’s Place also received numerous donations from the community, which helped make these meal distributions possible.