Order Up, Mineola!: Exploring Local Cuisine in Chaminade’s Hometown

IBy Peter Charalambous ’16

In a culinary atmosphere dominated by chain restaurants like Chipotle and Panera Bread, family-run, hometown restaurants rely on friendly service and delicious food to compete. While some have been run out of business due to this competition, others have overcome the trend and still offer the same fare that they have been serving for decades. In Mineola, establishments like Cugini’s, Werner’s Deli Co., and Station Plaza Coffee Shop have stood the test of time, offering scrumptious cooking and welcoming environments to Mineola residents and Chaminade students alike.

Italian Favorites at Cugini’s

Balls of perfectly risen dough lie stacked on wooden trays behind the counter of Cugini’s of Mineola. A man gently throws flour onto the counter and places a ball on the marble. Spreading the dough with the force of a boxer and skill of an artist, he begins to sculpt the dough into a familiar shape. Pouring sauce and shredded mozzarella onto the pizza, he finishes the pie by sliding it into scorching hot oven.

Cuigini's Pizzeria and Ristorante has been a Mineola landmark for over a decade.
Cuigini’s Pizzeria and Ristorante has been a Mineola landmark for over a decade.

The pizza exits the oven and enters a display case for the rush of Chaminade students about to enter Cugini’s. They enter hungry after a long day of school, ready to eat whatever the man behind the counter has to offer. Regular cheese pizza remains a favorite, but newer creations like buffalo chicken pizza and their menu of traditional Italian food attracts customers, as well.

“Getting a quick bite to eat from Cugini’s is a perfect way to end my day after a long day of school,” said John Michael Magloire ’18.

While the short distance between Cugini’s and Chaminade has enticed students for over a decade, it all began when two cousins decided to create a pizzeria named “Cugini’s,” Italian for “cousin’s.” The relationship between the cousins soon deteriorated, however, leaving one cousin, the late Antonio Franzella, and his brother, Angelo Franzella, to run the business. For over a decade, they have created some of the best pizza in Mineola.

Chaminade students and parents often frequent Cugini’s before sporting events and plays. Some sports teams even feast on a celebratory meal after a long season, and a picture of the 2013 track and field team enjoying a meal at Cugini’s even adorns the restaurant’s wall.

Whether it be lunch, dinner, or a quick snack before catching a bus, Cugini’s offers something to satisfy any palate.

Cugini’s Pizzeria and Restaurant

432 Jericho Turnpike, Mineola, NY 11501

A Spin on the Flyer Special at Werner’s Deli

There is something special about a deli where everyone knows your name. Upon walking into Werner’s Deli Co, there is an immediate sense of familiarity. From the countless bags of chips and candy bars filling all possible real estate on the walls and counters to the friendly husband-and-wife team working behind the counter, you immediately feel welcomed.

All the other customers refer to each other by name, eager to recommend their favorite item on the menu. However, once the person behind the counter realizes you are a Chaminade student, he or she is quick to recommend the “Chaminade Special,” Werner’s take on the “Flyer Special.”

Werner’s elevates the Flyer Special to a whole new level by utilizing their own special blend of breadcrumbs, extra crispy bacon, and other high quality ingredients. From turkey clubs to egg salad, Werner’s also offers classic deli sandwiches for any taste.

“The food and service at Werner’s is unmatched by any deli that I have ever been to,” said Kevin Derby ’16.

Behind the countless creations Werner’s has to offer is married couple Yong and Sue Kim. While the deli has been in business since 1963, Yong and Sue, veterans of the deli industry, took it over in 2001. For the last 14 years, they have catered to the needs of Mineola with an inclusive menu of old-fashioned sandwiches and friendly service.

Werner’s Deli Co.

258 Jericho Turnpike, Mineola, NY 11501

Speedy Service at Station Plaza

A chef at Station Plaza Coffee Shop and Diner prepares a variety of dishes to meet the incoming lunch rush.
A chef at Station Plaza Coffee Shop and Diner prepares a variety of dishes to meet the incoming lunch rush.

The coffee flows like water each morning at Station Plaza Coffee Shop. The epitome of coffee shops, Station Plaza has everything a good coffee shop needs: friendly service, speedy ticket times, and an excellent location.

Nick Liakonis opened Station Plaza over 30 years ago, and he prides himself on his excellent staff, many of whom have been with the restaurant for decades. Always friendly, these servers attentively wait tables and know many customers by name. Recently, Nick’s son Billy took over control of Station Plaza, ensuring the same friendly service that has existed for decades will continue for many more.

Serving many commuters, Station Plaza ensures speedy ticket times. A typical egg-and-hash brown breakfast takes less than five minutes to come out of the kitchen, and Station Plaza uses only the best quality ingredients, receiving new shipments of fresh ingredients every day.

Perhaps the best characteristic of Station Plaza is its location. In 2004, the coffee house moved from its old location at 85 Mineola Blvd. to 206 Station Plaza North, directly across from Mineola train station. This location makes it a perfect place for New York City commuters and Chaminade students alike to grab a quick bite to eat for breakfast or lunch.

“It’s extremely convenient to get breakfast at the coffee shop since it’s a quick walk from the train station,” noted Kyle Chichester ’16.

Open from five in the morning to three in the afternoon on weekdays, Station Plaza Coffee Shop is the perfect place to chow down on simple breakfast classics.

Station Plaza Coffee Shop

206 Station Plaza N, Mineola, NY 11501