After serving the community for decades, a popular Italian restaurant and pizzeria in Hampton Bays recently closed its doors with no grand goodbye and without any fanfare, but rather with a mere sign in its window.
More than two weeks ago, the lights at Rino’s Trattoria and Pizzeria—long known as John’s Pizzeria before changing names last year—went off, and a sign was placed in the front window of the business, located in the United Artists movie theater shopping center off Montauk Highway.
The handwritten sign simply states: “Due to some business related set backs we are closed but trying to reopen as soon as possible. We apologize.”
An automated message conveys a similar message to those who call the restaurant.
The restaurant’s owner, Rino Schiano, has not responded to calls or emails over the past week.
The owners of the building leasing the space, listed in public records as WDP Enterprises Inc. in Huntington, could not be reached for comment.
After buying John’s Pizzeria, Mr. Schiano changed the name of the restaurant, which had been staple of the Hampton Bays business district for four decades, in April 2012, as part of a redesign effort that included a revamped menu, expanded wine selection and a new chef from Naples, Italy.
Less than 16 months later, the decorations remain on the wall, the neon signs in the window are intact and the furniture remains in place, but not a soul inhabits the building.
Stan Glinka, the president of the Hampton Bays Chamber of Commerce and a candidate for the Southampton Town Board this fall, said he has heard various reasons why the restaurant closed but declined to share them because he has not spoken to Mr. Schiano personally.
Mr. Glinka said it was troubling that such a well-established business could close down so suddenly, marking it up as a sign of economic struggles in the hamlet.
“It’s a trend of the economic climate we’re in,” he said. “It’s very concerning, because I know that they’re all struggling, and this is a tell-tale sign of that.”
Mr. Glinka said he does not blame Mr. Schiano for not wanting to speak publicly about the closure of his business, adding that he wishes him well moving forward. “I hope it all turns out well for him,” he said.