BRONX TIMES R 14 EPORTER, MARCH 8-14, 2019 BTR
Lucca Italian Restaurant. Schneps Media/Alex Mitchell
Lucca’s of Pelham Bay closes;
Orrico’s gets ready to take over
BY ALEX MITCHELL
A Pelham Bay staple is changing
hands after 12 meaningful years on
Lucca’s Italian restaurant, probably
known best for its shrimp fusilli in
vodka sauce, closed its doors for good
at the end of January.
The decision wasn’t an easy one for
owner Lucia Mariani, who’s love for
her customers is second to none.
“I’ll miss them so much,” she said,
reminiscing on her time in the food
industry - that started at age 15. “We
were friends with the customers.
There were so many great memories,”
During the daytime however, Mariani
puts aside her apron and is a devoted
teacher at P.S. 72 in Throggs
Over the past dozen years she’s
easily juggled her educational career
while maintaining the popular Pelham
Bay restaurant. That was until
a broken leg hindered Mariani’s ability
to oversee Lucca’s some weeks ago,
which was part of why she decided to
Lucca’s may be gone but the area
will not be losing one of its few remaining
Italian eateries. A new restaurant
is already poised to take the 3019
Westchester Avenue location.
Mariani sold her restaurant to a fellow
Pelham Bayite and passionate Italian
chef hailing from Edison Avenue,
It’s been his dream to own not just a
restaurant, but this particular one because
the history behind the joint before
it was Lucca’s.
That spot on Westchester Avenue
was previously Joe Nina’s, a hoppin’
Italian kitchen that drew crowds
from all over the city, Long Island and
Westchester. The namesake was a popular
restauranteur that served the
neighborhood for dozens of years and
it wasn’t unusual to run into celebrities
eating among the locals.
Growing up, Orrico idolized the
place, calling it “the jewel of the neighborhood.”
He also admired Joe Nina’s
last owner, Michael Brown, whom was
killed in a violent shooting in 2001.
“This is like owning the Yankees
for me,” he said, refl ecting on his prior
culinary history as a chef in Queens
at Patsy’s. Orrico even made his fi rst
bowl of pasta at eight years old.
Naturally, he plans to call the new
When it opens in late March he’ll be
making a few changes to the interior
and the menu.
One of the more notable menu
changes coming will be the Italian egg
roll appetizers, which will come in a
few varieties such as, buffalo chicken
and Philly cheesesteak, to name some.
Another notable treat Oricco’s will
have on the menu is a neighborhood favorite
- ‘old-school’ hot lunch heroes
- as well as ‘dirty chips’ with meatballs,
a blend of gorgonzola cheese and
cream sauce into a wild, yet delectable
A natural born chef, Oricco will
naturally be spending an inordinate
amount of his time in the kitchen, creating
all of these wonderful dishes
Oricco’s also guarantees one of ‘the
best homemade New York cheesecake’
He will be honoring all Lucca’s gift
certifi cates at Oricco’s.
Stop by Orrico’s to taste all the new
and exciting dish options that will be
on deck. Here’s a worthwhile tip from
this reporter: I recommend anything
covered in the fi letto di pomodoro Bolognese