CROSS RIVER, N.Y. – Those walking through the Orchard Square shopping center have likely noticed that the storefront once occupied by Villarina’s Pasta & Deli has been vacant for nearly two months.
Fans of the Italian specialty shop can now rejoice as owner Willy Benito has announced that the store has moved just 20 minutes away to New Canaan, Conn.
Benito said he’s completed the renovations at the new location and has obtained all the necessary permits. He plans to open on Thursday.
Benito said he had to leave the Orchard Square location because the rent was too high. “I had hoped to move across the street, but that didn’t work out.”
Benito said he misses Cross River and his loyal customers, especially the students from neighboring John Jay High School, but added that he’s managed to maintain a connection.
“In the past few weeks, I’ve provided food trays to two events at John Jay and one for” Fox Lane High School, he said. “I am trying to keep the same relationships.”
Benito had billed himself as the “King of Wraps” and had even named one of the sandwiches the “John Jayster” because of its popularity among the students. He said he will continue to sell that sandwich in New Canaan under the same name.
“I was in Cross River for 14 years and will miss it,” he said. “But I’m only 20 minutes away and hope people will come and visit. I’ve spent the last two months fixing this place up and it looks great.”
Besides the new location in New Canaan, Benito said his best news is that he’s opened a factory in Bethel, Conn. that will produce his popular pasta and ravioli for his deli.
“I am doing it with three of my friends,” he said. “We will package it and sell it in my store and I’m hoping to open more stores in the future.”
Villarina's is located at 22 East Ave. Call 2-3-972-7680.