James Catusco has brought decades of experience to 336 Depot Road, Huntington Station, where he opened Catusco's Pizza Wednesday.
The 1999 graduate of Walt Whitman High School took over the vacant space in October and since then has kept his focus on opening first with a smaller menu of dishes filled with good ingredients.
His paninis all bear the names of schools in the South Huntington district, including the Whitman with prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, roasted peppers, tomato, basil and olive oil. Other offerings include pastas, salads, heros, soups, appetizers and side dishes, pizza pies, and dinners.
"We're bringing it back to the neighborhood," he said, adding that he loved the location of the shop at the intersection of Depot Road and 17th Street.
He is working with a longtime associate, Chef Freddy, who has a rice pudding specialty on the dessert menu.
And for the big question: does pineapple belong on pizza?
Catusco says he didn't have pineapple in stock his first day but "We will add pineapple--if people want it we will sell it to them."
He expects the restaurant to be added to delivery apps soon.
And he got at least one rave review his first day. Weather Going Wild's Michael Koch wrote, "I’ve been waiting for this place to open up!!! Food's pretty incredible…That Thai chili slice was off the hook!!!"
The pizzeria is just one of several new restaurants or other businesses that have opened recently, including Fogo de Chao in Huntington Station, an The Last Word cocktail bar in downtown Huntington.