Restaurateur Brings Gourmet Pizza From Manhattan to Queens
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EAST ELMHURST â€” Some immigrants are lured to the United States by the promise of achieving the American Dream. For RaÃºl Bonetto, all it took was a copy of the movie "Wall Street." As a young man living in Argentina, Bonetto had no interest in living a Gordon Gekko lifestyle. He was more interested in the film's setting: New York City's bright lights drew him in, and he credits the film as the reason he moved to the U.S.
"When I saw the city on the big screen, I said, 'What are you doing here?'" Bonetto, who was 22 years old at the time, recalled. "'I should be there!'"
By 2008, Bonetto lived in an apartment on the East Side of Manhattan and was a successful restaurateur who had owned seven restaurants in the city since moving to the U.S. in the late 1980s...
Now back in the U.S. and living in Astoria, Bonetto has ditched the bright lights of Manhattan, reentering the world of restaurant ownership in a residential Queens neighborhood.
Pagliaccio, a new gourmet pizzeria at 84-15 Northern Boulevard on the Jackson Heights and East Elmhurst border, is a far cry from his previous restaurants on the Upper West Side. "The space is bigger, and the rent is cheaper," Bonetto said. "In Manhattan, in a good location, you need to spend a lot of money."
But Bonetto is no stranger to the area. As the owner of a string of Latin American restaurants in the 1990s and early 2000s, he often bought his ingredients from local shops like DespaÃ±a Foods, a restaurant and grocery specializing in Latin foods at 86-17 Northern Boulevard...
But the restaurant's signature pie is the Circo, Bonetto said. It's a thin-crust pie with sliced pepperoni, sausage, pancetta, green peppers and onions, served on a special tray created by Bonetto that holds three sauces: a red pepper sauce, a parsley and basil sauce and a spicy green tomatillo and jalapeno sauce.
Bonetto is perhaps best known for his empanadas. The former owner of restaurants Pampa and Gauchas, he has been featured making empanadas on Good Morning America and the Food Network. Spinach, beef, chicken and ham and cheese empanadas are all on proud display at Pagliaccio.
The name Pagliaccio means "clown" in Italian, and is inspired by the opera Pagliacci. The title fits the theme of his previous two pizzerias, Traviata and Rigoletto, both named after operas and located near Lincoln Center. In the future, he plans to design a back patio similar to an Italian plaza, complete with cafe tables and a fountain. But for now, Bonetto, who went from a bustling metropolis to a residential neighborhood, has a modest goal: to run a small, successful business.
"Not a big restaurant," Bonetto said. "Just a pizzeria."
Read more: http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20121221/jackson-heights/restaurateur-brings-gourmet-pizza-from-manhattan-queens#ixzz2FhoKmx4x