John Parini’s grandmother, Carol, hated the nickname “Caz”. Now, for the second time, that dreaded moniker adorns a family business.
“One of my grandfather’s pizzerias at the time was Cazzio’s,” Parini said. “The story behind Cazzio’s is that he always called my grandmother ‘Caz’, and when he opened the pizzeria, he did Cazzio’s. She hated it, so my grandfather used to upset her with it.
The 24-year-old from Bay Shore was planning to open his own Cazzio’s Pizza and Pasta on October 14, his grandmother’s birthday, but plans have been delayed. Instead, he opened on his grandfather’s birthday, October 28.
“I did it in memory of my grandparents because they practically raised me,” Parini said. “My mom was a single mom, so I grew up in their house and watched my grandpa cook.
“He was a really big inspiration to me,” he continued. “I watched him cook and always knew that was what I wanted to do when I was younger.”
The restaurant bug runs through the Parini family. Her aunt and uncle, Nick and Rachel Parini, owned the beloved Nicky’s on the Bay for nearly two decades, and their children, Joey and Christine Parini, run Nicky’s Clam Bar.
John Parini describes himself as family-oriented, growing up with family dinners around the table. Now he hopes to feed East Northport families with 40 different classic and specialty pies.
Beyond classic cheese, Sicilian and grandma’s pies, Parini’s creations include the Angry Nonna with ricotta, soppressata, provolone, mozzarella and Mike’s Hot Honey; a baked clam pie; and his signature Cazzio tart with cognac cream sauce, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, truffle oil and parmesan shavings.
In the kitchen, Parini and his staff cook fresh meatballs, rice balls, and an array of chicken, veal, and seafood for heroes and entrees. Among his favorites are chicken francese and chicken scarpariello, a recipe he says is a close replica of the one he watched his grandfather cook up as a child.
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” he said.