After Seven Years, Nino Returns to Reopen His Pizzeria

IMG_9260Samantha Balaban Nino’s Pizza on St. Marks and Avenue A is currently under construction

Villagers, rejoice: the old Nino’s Pizza is back. Or it will be in about a month and a half, according to Nino Camaj, the former and once again current owner of the pizzeria on the corner of St. Marks Place and Avenue A.

Mr. Camaj owned Nino’s Pizza for 18 years before selling it and moving to Florida, he said. Last week, he re-signed a 12-year lease to the storefront.

Nino’s was under non-Nino ownership for seven years while Mr. Camaj lived in Florida, where he opened two more restaurants. Then, five years ago, he sold his Florida restaurants and moved back to New York City “because of the hurricanes,” he said, and opened a Nino’s Restaurant in Bedford Hills, Queens.

Meanwhile, he noticed that his old pizzeria in the East Village wasn’t doing too great, and also selling Lebanese food. “He ruined everything,” Mr. Camaj said of the other owner. “He had no experience. A lot of people complained.”

photo-20Daniel Maurer Shuttered by the health department in December.

In addition to complaints, Nino’s racked up a bunch of Health Department violations. The pizzeria finally closed, and a “For Rent” sign went up, earlier this year.

Now, Mr. Camaj is restoring the old Nino’s Pizza menu to its former glory. “It’s the same Nino’s I used to have before,” he said. Once again, Nino’s will serve “a nice Margherita pizza,” a Neapolitan pizza, as well as gluten-free and whole wheat pizza.

“They should expect excellent pizza,” Mr. Camaj said. “A lot of freshly made pizzas. Fresh mozzarella and buffalo mozzarella.”

Mr. Camaj will also be restoring the interior of Nino’s. The previous owner, he said, “ripped it apart. I don’t know what he did.”