At 16-years-old, John Desiderio came to Long Island, New York, from a small town in Southern Italy. Starting from the bottom with a strong work ethic and a willingness to learn, Desiderio was able to eventually accomplish the American Dream with Fratelli Ristorante & Pizzeria. Working alongside his eldest son, Desiderio is proud of the successful family business he’s maintained for decades. He explains how he started his business and how he’s been able to weather the storm of COVID-19.
What inspired you to get into foodservice?
At the age of 16, I came to New York from Italy. After 8 months, I started working at a pizzeria as a dishwasher. After three months, and knowing that I wanted to do more, I asked if I could start cooking. My boss gave me the opportunity to show him what I could do. He was very pleased with the results, so he promoted me to chef. During that job, I also learned how to make pizza. In 1972, I opened my first pizzeria in Fresh Meadows, New York. I was so happy and proud of that accomplishment! Eventually in 1977, I opened my third pizzeria in Bay Shore, New York: Fratelli Ristorante and Pizzeria. I am happy to say I have been here for 43 years now!
What do you love about your business?
I love many things about my business, especially all of our customers for their loyalty and support over the years! I am blessed to work in such a wonderful and caring community. I love helping and serving people and making them happy with all their favorite dishes and pizza. We use only the best fresh, quality ingredients and cook everything fresh by the order!
I also love that my son, Vincent, has become my partner. I am so proud of him and everything he does for our business! This year during the pandemic, we were happy to donate and serve all our frontline workers. Making people happy is what we love the most!
What special items do you make?
My business gives me the opportunity to make many things that I love, such as homemade wine and baked goods like cheesecakes! I also make many old-fashioned recipes from scratch that I learned from my mom back in Italy. They bring back many wonderful memories!
What is the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome?
The biggest challenge I overcame was my first year in business. I struggled and unfortunately, I wasn’t making any money. I worked 14 hours a day with no pay! It was very hard and discouraging, but I was determined to stay and make it work—and I did! This year, we were faced with the biggest challenge. We had to make many changes; keeping everyone safe has been our main priority. I believe with hard work and determination anything is possible!
What Cambro products help make your business work?
We love all the products we have! We have food storage containers and trays. We love all the containers because they help keep our food fresh. We have pizza bags for deliveries, they’re great! We are very pleased with all the Cambro products we have and highly recommend them!
Links for Fratelli’s Ristorante & Pizzeria
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: ADRIANA DESIDERIO IS THE DIGITAL CONTENT MANAGER AT CAMBRO.