Success Stories

King Umberto Ristorante & Pizzeria

At King Umberto, in Elmont, NY, a steadily growing clientele enjoys consistently excellent food made with premium ingredients. Second-generation owner John Cesarano says that his family has never been content with the status quo. So to help his family’s side-by-side ristorante and pizzeria continue their steady growth, John actively focuses on identifying opportunities to further enhance food quality and menu appeal.

On the ristorante side, John says that the head chef is constantly working on new, highly flavorful specials, like delicately herbed risotto or a seasonal rabbit ragu. These are not “promotional” specials, but unique, premium-priced offerings aimed at tempting sophisticated regulars to return more often.

To keep the menu strong, John regularly reviews the popularity of each existing entrée or appetizer, with an eye to reinvigorating (or retiring) slower items. By forcing every dish to compete for a limited number of menu slots, the ristorante has steadily upgraded and upscaled its offerings over time.

On the pizzeria side, John further sharpens his pizza-making skills by competing in international competitions. Attending these events also allows him to observe other top pizzaioli and to taste world-class flavor combinations worth testing with customers back home.

For example, after perfecting a version of his own, John recently introduced Roman-Style “Pizza a Metro” (elongated Roman-style pizza). Rather than assuming the new item would sell itself, he wisely trained his servers to educate customers about how its unique forty eight hour rise time gives the dough a truly light, airy texture.

Because this new offering is exceptional and unique, suggestively selling it to customers has helped build its popularity and spark strong word of mouth. As some regulars return more often and curious newcomers arrive, John’s lunch traffic has slowly grown since the introduction.

John is pleased, but not satisfied, by these successes. Instead of resting on his laurels, he is constantly looking for additional avenues for improvement. By deciding what to improve next and measuring the results, the family continues to grow their success a little at a time! Bravo!