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Restaurants arriving, expanding in Rockville Centre

New eats on RVC's streets

Dirty Taco & Tequila owners plan to open their second location, formerly occupied by Bucket List, on Sunrise Highway in mid-June.
Dirty Taco & Tequila owners plan to open their second location, formerly occupied by Bucket List, on Sunrise Highway in mid-June.
Briana Bonfiglio/Herald

It’s no secret that Rockville Centre is a destination for dining. Whether residents or visitors want Japanese or Jamaican, Mediterranean or Mexican, they can find an array of cuisines within a few village blocks.

In recent and coming months, new eateries are opening and established ones are expanding, giving villagers even more options.

Newcomers in town

Residents who frequented Mr. Miceli Pizza, a 36-year mainstay in the village, were sad to see the pizzeria close last December. But when one restaurant closes, another opens. Melissa’s Taqueria & Tequila Bar has taken over the space at 19 N. Park Ave. It serves Mexican and Cuban cuisines, and the menu includes paellas, taco specials, burritos and quesadillas.

Just across Sunrise Highway, on the opposite corner of Park Avenue, Tazzetto Coffee will bring a taste of Italy to the village in mid-June, co-owner Vincent Arena said. It occupies the former longtime home of the Rockville Diner. The enterprise started when Arena’s father, Francesco, began serving coffee next door to his kitchen design showroom on Austin Boulevard in Island Park.

It was so successful, Arena said, that the father-son duo decided to expand. The Island Park location is in the process of moving to the Sands Shopping Center in Oceanside, and the Rockville Centre shop opens in mid-June.

“More and more people were coming in for the espresso machine and café,” he said, adding that the new stores will serve specialties imported from Italy, such as crostini, croissants, biscotti cups with hot chocolate, gelato and pizza. “We basically outgrew the space and created this whole new concept of an authentic, Italian café.”

Walk one block west on Sunrise Highway to visit the Rockville Centre location of Dirty Taco & Tequila. Soon, the corner space that formerly hosted Bucket List will have a Miami- and Los Angeles-inspired neighborhood vibe, with mock L.A.-style garage doors on the outside.

Owners AnnMarie and Thomas Jr. Cataldo, mother and son, opened the first Dirty Taco on Merrick Road in Wantagh last July. Thomas Cataldo Sr., who handles the eatery’s branding, said it boasts two- to three-hour wait times six days a week. He hopes the new spot will pick up some “overflow customers” who live in towns between Rockville Centre and Wantagh, while bringing its eclectic flavors to more people.

Cataldo’s son traveled often to Los Angeles, and was “enamored with the Korean influence in Mexican food there,” Cataldo Sr. said. The family researched the blend of cultures and decided to open a taco shop that captured the same global influence on food. “It’s a departure from the typical taco on Long Island,” he added. “We’re not a Mexican restaurant — there’s no burritos or fajitas. We take you on a culinary journey that’s affordable with an urban vibe.”

Pipeline Coffee Company, which also has a location in Wantagh, recently opened a new store at 318A Sunrise Highway, and is currently serving coffee and light breakfast items, like sandwiches, biscuits, pastries and vegan options. The shop roasts its own beans too, which co-owner Patrick Tighe said is unique to the area.

Though the café is up and running, Tighe noted, a chef-led kitchen will bring more food options to the coffee shop in the next month, which residents will want to check out. “It’s not going to end there,” he said.

Northeast of Pipeline, residents will soon find Super Pollo, known for its rotisserie Peruvian chicken, steaks, sandwiches and big salads, which hopes to move into 180 Maple Ave. next month, according to Luis Mautino, whose family owns the eatery.

The business first opened in East Rockaway in 2007, and later added a Long Beach location. Now it is hoping to bring a new flavor to Rockville Centre. “It’s like homemade food,” Mautino said. “My family is very picky on the taste buds, so whatever we serve, we’ve got to like it first.”

Finally, Zora’s Halal Grill is still under renovation and coming soon to North Park Avenue, just north of Sunrise Highway, adjacent to Village Hall.

Feeding more mouths

Press 195 serves up dozens of different pressed sandwiches on North Park Avenue. Last month, the casual dining spot added more seating to its bar area, complete with a new happy hour menu, as well as an event space next door.

“It’s exactly what we had before, just a bigger space,” said John Annechino, co-owner of Press 195. “Good beer, good food, good company and suited for all ages. Whether you want to enjoy a cold beverage or a delicious stuffed knish, we are the place to be.”

The restaurant will have its official renovation ribbon-cutting celebration on June 15, starting at noon, which will double as a fundraiser for St. Jude Children’s Hospital. There will be food and drink specials, with some proceeds to benefit the charity, as well as raffle prizes, live entertainment and kid-friendly activities.

On North Long Beach Road, the owners of Parmigianni opened Parma Market two weeks ago. The “classic, authentic Italian marketplace” sells freshly made sauce, pasta, cold cuts, cheese and meat, as well as homemade sausage and fresh Brooklyn bread, said co-owner John Evangelista.

“It’s fresh, it’s Italian, it’s what you remember eating when you were younger,” he said, noting that the shop also sells vegan and gluten-free options.

Across the street, sweets and tea are Polka Dot Pound Cake’s specialties, and both are best enjoyed in the company of others, owner Lisa Umansky soon learned after starting her business, initially selling cakes at farmers markets. From commercial kitchen to small storefront, the concept quickly expanded — and then grew some more. The store more than doubled in size last October, when Umansky added a dining area with several cozy tables and chairs that she bought through Facebook’s marketplace and restored to fit the at-home vibe.

“I realized quickly that what I enjoyed most was meeting customers,” Umansky said. “We’re focusing on afternoon tea now, which has really been taking off.”

The store now holds afternoon tea events, as well as cookie decorating workshops for kids and private parties.

With the food scene constantly changing in the village, residents can always keep their eyes — and stomachs — open for more restaurants hitting the streets of Rockville Centre.

Ben Strack contributed to this story.