From hardscrabble beginnings to incredible success, this Long Island icon has remained a true family affair for more than 55 years.

In 1955, three brothers leased a small burger joint in East Meadow, New York, and Borrelli’s Italian Restaurant  ( was born. Al whipped up Italian cuisine, Phil made pizzas, and Frank waited tables. Though they struggled the first couple of years, they borrowed and scraped to buy the building—and by 1962, business was booming enough to expand to 7,000 square feet, including a 3,000-square-foot kitchen and seating for 180. “In the ’60s and ’70s, there were constant lines,” recalls current co-owner Frank Borrelli Jr. “I started working at the business at 10 years old, and by 13, I knew I wanted to do this for the rest of my life. I just enjoyed it so much, working with my dad and uncles.”


Today, the tradition continues, with various family members working in the restaurant. “It’s important to have family with you running the place,” Frank Jr. says. “We never had to place ads for help; it’s always been friends and family.”

Both Frank and Frank Jr. met their wives at Borrelli’s. Customers become regulars, and even strangers get welcomed into the circle when volunteers serve needy families at Christmas, a 20-year tradition at the Italian institution. “We have to turn volunteers away because so many people want to help,” Frank Jr. says. “The more you give, the more you receive.”


With a dream location near Nassau Coliseum, Hofstra University and the Nassau County Aquatic Center, the area around Borrelli’s has been built up, but Borrelli’s has also grown—from a remodeling four years ago to the Facebook presence and email blasts implemented by its third generation. “Instead of sitting and waiting for them to come in, you have to go get them now,” says Frank Jr. “But we’re proud of our great-quality product. We serve food people come back for.”

By Tracy Morin


  1. Susan BoylanReply
    January 25, 2019 at 12:05 pm

    Went back to NY from California for my 50 HS Reunion In 2017. All I wanted was a shrimp pizza from Borellis. Went there with my Mom on fridays growing up in Bellmore. The pizza was a great as I remembered!! Thank you!

  2. Alfred GrimaldiReply
    January 25, 2019 at 5:24 pm

    The best pizza , food, staff and family restaurant left on Long Island !! God Bless the Borrelli Family!!! I love coming home and rushing to have my pizza fix !! Ah salute ‘

  3. Alex BorrelliReply
    January 26, 2019 at 7:39 am

    Alex Borrelli, now 91, is very proud of this article.

  4. Steve WalshReply
    January 27, 2019 at 5:35 pm

    I grew up in East Meadow in the 1970s , and this was my favorite restaurant, hands down. A fixture after Islanders & Mets games. We live in Suffolk County now, and we still celebrate our kids’ birthdays at Borrelli’s. Just went on 1/26/19 for our 18 year old’s birthday. You can’t make this restaurant any better – it’s the best!

  5. Al McgovernReply
    February 26, 2020 at 12:33 pm

    We have been coming to Borrelli’s sine it first started . My wife and I grew up in Uniondale and went to school with Joe and Marie. My wife lived two houses away from them. We were passing through just recently and decided to stop for dinner. Frankie was making an Islander sign footprint Tonelli’s celebration. There is no place like home. Ah, Salute! To Al Grimaldi.

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