in Mamaroneck can’t be missed. Yes, it may be in the center of town, but it is the long lines that get people’s attention from afar. Stephen Derose, the middle son of owner Sal Derose, sat down with Patch to discuss how he, his two brothers, a couple uncles, a few cousins and his father work in a family business that began where Café Mozart is now located, some 47 years ago.
Larchmont Patch: What are your store’s specialties?
Stephen Derose: The menu hasn’t changed that much over the years. It has been pizza, pasta, heroes, etc...
Larchmont Patch: Why are you successful?
Derose: We use quality ingredients, we try to be friendly with customers, we are open seven days a week and customers have relied on us to be open. We close three days a year. We are consistent and reliable.
Larchmont Patch: The setup of the shop has a long countertop. Is there a reason behind it?
Derose: There is a long line of customers, so we built the counter to accommodate the long line and to get more people through fast.
Larchmont Patch: Do customers have a favorite food?
Derose: Sicilian pizza is by far the favorite.
Larchmont Patch: Where do your customers come from?
Derose: We get students from Rye Neck, Harrison, the French[American]School, walk-in traffic, people who come specifically because we are here. Also before or after a movie, people come for pizza.
Larchmont Patch: Why do people come?
Derose: Because people say that there is no pizza anywhere like us.
Larchmont Patch: What is the benefit of having a family business?
Derose: People like to see a friendly face. People who are part of the family understand that the business is built on relationships. We treat customers like members of our own family.
Larchmont Patch: What is it like to work with your family?
Derose: We enjoy working with each other. If you have an issue with a family member, sometimes you just have to bite your tongue.
Larchmont Patch: Do you see this being the location for a while longer; Is this a good spot?
Derose: Yes, this is the center of town. My father bought the building because it was for sale at the time. He had come from Italy and was living in the Bronx in 1964. He didn’t target Mamaroneck, but it worked out well.
Larchmont Patch: How has the community responded to your business?
Derose: Very well. We are frequently mentioned in Westchester Magazine. Joe Torre, Matt and Kevin Dillon and some of the Rangers used to come here when they practiced in Rye. If you come here for lunch or dinner, you will see a line out the door.
Larchmont Patch: Do you market the business?
Derose: No, it is word of mouth. We have done the same with our gelato store right next door, which opened up four years ago. There, homemade gelato is made daily.