Giovanni “John” Digirolamo was scrambling.
He was just minutes away from unlocking the doors at Slice of Bay Shore, and he described his feelings as “big time anxiety.”
“I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in about four, five days,” he said. “It’s panic mode.”
Then he got back to work orchestrating perhaps the most anticipated pizzeria opening to ever happen on Long Island.
Digirolamo cultivated his fandom through a lifetime of serving up pizzas with smiles in neighboring Brightwaters and elsewhere. That was before he and his family decided to go into business for themselves.
After an exhaustive, countywide search, they settled on the old Friendly’s building at 298 West Main Street, and closed on the property in April 2016.
A traditional pizza parlor and Italian restaurant, Slice of Bay Shore features spacious eat-in pizzeria at the front of the freestanding building and a dining room in the back.
A huge kitchen will run along the eastern side.
Both eating areas have a modern, clean vibe, though they feel distinctly different.
Throughout the build-out, Digirolamo and his wife, Alexis, spent countless hours interviewing would-be staffers in the neighboring Bay-Shore Brightwaters Library and elsewhere.
Some of the young people they remember being in strollers.
Then, the training began.
“We had to learn the new POS (point of sale) system,” Digirolamo said. “And it’s a lot of young, great kids but we all need experience.”
Given the pent up demand for Digirolamo’s pizza, they’re about to get plenty experience.
“We’re all going to learn it together,” he said.
Slice of Bay Shore opened at 5 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 5.