Bella Vita pizza to open this month

The former Clark's Fish House will be the new home of Bella Vita. (Credit: Julie Lane)

The former Clark’s Fish House will be the new home of Bella Vita. (Credit: Julie Lane)

Bella Vita, the former pizzeria in the Center, will re-open in the former Clark’s Fish House sometime between mid- to late-April. Owner John Riccobono signed a lease with landlord Richard Walsh on March 28 and is waiting for a delivery of equipment to begin operating.

While the former space on North Ferry Road prevented him from offering a full service restaurant, the new business will have table service with waitresses, as well as providing pizza to take out.

The menu will feature “every day blue collar food,” Mr. Riccobono said. Expect spaghetti and meatballs, chicken parmigiana and, of course, pizza.

From the time the restaurant closed in December, customers have been clamoring for its return, the owner said. But Mr. Riccobono had to sell the restaurant he had opened in Franklin Square before he could sign a new lease here, he said.

What prompted him to return?

“The people,” he said. “We feel at home there. It was always my intention to get back [to the Island].”

He and his family ran the pizzeria in the Center for five years, but couldn’t settle on a new lease agreement with landlord Dan Calabro and felt they had no choice but to leave.

His family, Mr. Riccobono noted, has had close ties with Islanders, reaching out in many ways to support activities and individuals who needed a helping hand. Mr. Riccobono’s son, also named John, called the Island a place where “giving back” is part of the culture. The family has supported raffles and benefits, he said, such as the “Empty Bowls” program to support the school district’s Edible Garden and Shelter Island Food Pantry and also provided meals for Shelter Island Bucks team dinners.