Restaurant History

The RestaurantLa Corsa Ristorante Pizzeria is East Harlem’s newest old-style Italian restaurant opened its doors in late 2009 — but its history goes back nearly 100 years, to Southern Italy. That’s when the grandfathers of husband-and-wife proprietors Nino and Nina first met.   In 1966, the families of Nino (then six) and Nina (then five) emigrated to Ridgewood, Brooklyn, their fathers working side by side as movers for the Seven Santini Brothers.   In 1983, Nino’s father opened the eponymous Vito’s in Franklin Square on Long Island, fulfilling a lifelong dream to own and run a restaurant. Nino helped out, joined soon by his bride Nina. The couple has four children: Vito, Caterina, Anthony and Marcello.  Some 20 years after Vito’s opened, Nino learned of an opportunity to open his own restaurant in a neighborhood he had never before visited. Several months of remodeling followed, including purchase of special brick-oven-quality ovens brought in from Italy.  The menu at La Corsa, crafted with the assistance of Nino’s brother Frank, includes many old family recipes and favorites: the rice balls, the Penne Corsa, the Puttanesca and Mazarisa among them.  The spacious entryway of the restaurant provides ample room for pizza lovers to grab a slice and have a seat; in the rear there’s seating for 55 and an outdoor space. Perfect for private parties, business groups or just a family dinner in the neighborhood, La Corsa offers something for everyone.  A word about the name: La Corsa means “the race” in Italian, a nod to Nino’s other passion: motorcycles. He owns a performance cycle repair shop on Long Island and seeks out the race course at least twice a month in the summer.