One of the best things about being Italian is that I learned how to make sauce from my Grandmother, which was like learning how to be Catholic from the Pope: I could not help but learn how to do it well (although never as well as she did).
A lot of my friends were not as lucky as I to learn this skill from such a master, so they asked me to teach them how to do it. And every single one of them was shocked to learn I did not put sugar in my sauce to sweeten it. I told them exactly what my Grandmother told me: "If your tomatoes aren't sweet enough on their own, there are other ways to make it sweet without adding sugar."
Since I cannot divulge that part of the family recipe, I will tell you this, since I never had sugar in my sauce, I can taste it instantly in someone else's. So when I moved to West Islip 11 years ago, I was immediately impressed with the pizza at "Our Little Italy." Not only did I not taste sugar, I tasted something I had not tasted before - the best regular pizza I have ever had.
"I learned how to make the sauce from my partner when I first came to work here. He had been using the same recipe since he opened the place. We still use the same brand of tomatoes, which are sweet enough so we don't have to use sugar," said Chris McGinley, the owner of the restaurant.
His first introduction to the restaurant was as a patron.
"We lived in West Islip so my family used to come here, then I started working here," he said. McGinley continued at the restaurant after graduating from high school in 1989. In 1992, he became partners with the owner, John Dominici, who originally opened the place in 1983. McGinley took over the whole place on his own in 1998 when Dominici left the business.
"Most of my customers have been coming here forever and I like seeing them," he said.
The restaurant serves several different varieties of pizza and other Italian specialties for lunch and dinner. Dessert is also available, including a light, creamy absolutely scrumptious cheesecake. Dine in patrons can take advantage of "all you can eat" chicken and pasta on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. The store features beautiful black and white pictures of Little Italy on the the walls.
"A friend of John's was a photographer and he went to Little Italy to take the pictures. That's also where the name came from," McGinley said.
No matter how you make your sauce, you will not be disappointed no matter what you order off the menu at this taste of Italy in our own backyard. Our Little Italy is open seven days a week. They are located at 636 Union Boulevard. The phone number is 631-661-6246.