Thursday, October 3, 2013


Here is the article I wrote that appeared in the Times Ledger.

Vetro of Howard Beach reopens for business after Sandy

A wine cellar looked like an indoor pool.  Perhaps you saw some bottles of the fine imported Italian vintages  floating down Crossbay Blvd and into Jamaica Bay as the staff from Vetro  restaurant waited on the rooftop for assistance. The scenario is typical to the Sandy Hurricane devastation that forced many restaurants and other businesses in Howard Beach to close their doors.

Vetro, owned by Frank Russo, Jr.  is located at 164-49 Cross Bay Blvd.,  on the corner of  Jamaica Bay and Hawtree Creek an unfortunate locale for a such a hurricane.  If the name Russo sounds familiar, you just need to walk north a few blocks to Russo’s on the Bay, another family owned venue that suffered as well.

Months passed with little help from the insurance companies and the government, but Frank was determined to reopen Vetro, his latest award winning venue that captures the art of fine dining, romance and a rooftop to sip a drink, mingle or dance under the stars.

It took 38 days  and over 5 million dollars to reopen the restaurant  “with no thanks to the insurance company”, said Frank Russo, Jr.  Here is the breakdown of the family owned business.   As soon as they were able, there was a completion that cost $3.2 million top to bottom renovation of both Vetro and Russo’s on the Bay.  Vetro’s Wine Cellar went through a $170,000 renovation and sommelier PJ Connolly was busy selecting wines once again to replace those lost to the storm. Total renovations for Russo's on the Bay and Vetro Restaurant & Lounge combined with the immense amount of business lost equates to $5.2 million. The full restoration of Vetro was only completed about a month ago.  Take a tour of Vetro’s four floors and you would never realize that damage was done and with very little changes to its original d├ęcor.

A Dine Around commenced in the Blue Lounge for drinks, then down to the Wine Cellar for traditional Italian Anitpasti paired with three of the wines chosen by General Manager /sommelier P.J. Connelly.  I continued up to the waterfront Terrace and into the Main Dining Room for some tastings along with the main course.   Dessert, hosted by Executive Pastry Chef Marco Valencia allowed for a brief tour of the Murano Room, and into the Bridal Suite which abuts the Rooftop Lounge.

There is also a Frank Russo, III his young son, who appears to be more associated with Russo’s On The Bay and will most likely be the next generation of Russo family restaurants.

Here are some of the photos that I took along with an interview from Frank Russo, Jr.

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