Uncle Joe’s Pizzeria in Riverhead has officially closed its doors as of Monday after nearly two years, a decision store owner Joe Sciara said was difficult to make.
“I’m a hustler, and I don’t like to give up easily,” Mr. Sciara said. “But I felt I had to let it go.”
The 76-year-old has been in the pizza business for over three decades now, with his longtime location in Hampton Bays and a more recent spot in Mattituck.
He opened his Riverhead restaurant in September 2014, but he said it became difficult for him to juggle multiple locations and the Riverhead location wasn’t doing as well as the others.
Mr. Sciara said his wife and business partner, Frances, was an encouraging voice behind the decision to pull the plug.
“She said ‘you’re 76-years-old. It’s time to only focus on one location,’ ” Mr. Sciara recalled.
He’ll now focus on the Hampton Bays location, he said.
His son Steven owns the Mattituck location and said it wasn’t easy for his father to have to let go of the Riverhead location.
“He works six to seven days a week,” he said. “Just trying to juggle multiple locations is very difficult.”
He said his father’s biggest challenge was having to run back and forth between the two stores, especially since he values his interactions with the customers.
“He’s a people person,” Steven Sciara said. “He loves his customers.”
The senior Mr. Sciara said both the Hampton Bays and Mattituck stores are doing well, especially with the Hampton Bays spot relocating about 11 months ago.
Mr. Sciara said he is unsure what building owner Frank Spatola will do with the building now.
Photo: Uncle Joe’s Pizzeria in downtown Riverhead was closed as of Monday morning. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)