Cafe moves out, pizzeria moves in


Published: Thursday, June 1, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, May 31, 2006 at 10:36 a.m.

Wraps and sandwiches are out, and pizza and calzones in at a NE 23rd Avenue restaurant that is changing tenants.

Celebrations is ending its cafe operation and a new Italian restaurant is moving in at 490 NE 23rd Ave., the site of a former Hardee's. Celebrations will continue its catering business at its N. Main Street location, said co-owner Mike Case.

"We're definitely going full swing with the catering. We've been busy," Case said. "I didn't want to go full bore with another place. We are going to focus on catering right now."

Celebrations initially had a small cafe along with its catering operation at 904 N. Main St. It moved the restaurant into a larger building on 23rd Avenue in 2002.

It was most noted for its sandwiches, wraps, salads, soup and desserts.

I Love NY Pizza is owned by Joe and Vito DiBartolo Vito is Joe's dad and opened about six months ago in a new shopping plaza anchored by a Publix at the north end of Haile Plantation.

Manager Tommy Casabianca said the restaurant makes New York style pizza, available by the whole pie or by the slice. The restaurant has a full Italian menu.

The 23rd Avenue restaurant should be open in a few weeks and will have the same menu, he said.

The sign for I Love NY Pizza is already up.

New York roots run deep at the restaurant Casabianca was born and raised in Brooklyn, Vito DiBartolo is from Sicily via New York and Joe DiBartolo was born in New York.

"It's the quality and the flavor of the crust that makes it like New York pizza. It's really in the crust," Casabianca said. "We get people from all over town, and the phone hasn't stopped ringing about the new one on the other side of town. I get about two dozen phone calls a day about it. I have customers that travel that far."

Casabianca said the family is opening a tapas restaurant named Fusions in the Haile plaza and recently opened a restaurant in New Port Richey.

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