For a time, it was hard to find many vegan options in Glen Cove and its surrounding villages. But that has changed with the opening of vegan Italian restaurant 3 Brothers Restaurant and Pizzeria.
There is something for everyone at 3 Brothers, from non vegan-options such as a traditional pepperoni pizza or linguini in clam sauce, to completely vegan options like a vegan Hawaiian pizza or vegan penne alla vodka.
The base ingredients of the vegan cheeses are made from natural products, such as cashews for mozzarella or tofu for ricotta. And as a meat substitute, seitan, a versatile vegan product made by rinsing the starch from wheat dough, is often used.
Jaime Tech of Sea Cliff, who has a gluten-free, vegetarian diet, said she is excited that 3 Brothers has come to Glen Cove. “It allows for North Shore residents who either have an alternative diet or those who wish to explore plant-based options with an opportunity,” she said, “to experience traditional Italian dishes without having to compromise taste, needs and travel.”
There are currently five 3 Brothers locations on Long Island, including restaurants in Rockville Centre, Farmingdale, Copiague, an all vegan pizza café in Lynbrook, and the newest eatery in Glen Cove.
The original restaurant, 3 Brothers of Rockville Centre, opened in 2007 operating as an ordinary family-owned pizzeria owned by the Astafa family. But in 2009, the oldest of three brothers, Jay Astafa, created a vegan menu for the restaurant. His brothers were then inspired, according to the 3 Brothers website, to do their part in the hospitality industry and the vegan movement.
Tech said she used to drive 30 minutes to be able to have the gluten free and vegan baked ziti and pizza. She’s happy now to have the restaurant in her neck of the woods.
Glen Cove’s restaurant is operated by managers who go by the names “Tank” and “Capone.” They asked that their names remain private. The restaurant is currently open but has not had a live opening night yet.
So far, Tank said, the local community has been very welcoming. A lot of the staff at 3 Brothers are vegan and Tank is a vegetarian because he loves animals. While the restaurant does offer meat and dairy options so that there is something for everyone, its focus and that of the chain is primarily to provide a vegan menu.
The ingredients for 3 Brother’s appetizers, entrees, and pizzas and pastas are made on site from natural, fresh and often organic products. Tank said he’s seen non-vegans try the plant-based options and enjoy it.
Tank has been working in the restaurant industry since he was 13. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he worked at an Italian restaurant where he was a dishwasher for two years, then a salad maker for another two. He was promoted to be a baker, a saucier and eventually a chef. This allowed him to see how each part of the kitchen works.
“You know how that dishwasher is feeling if they get backed up and you don’t have the plates,” Tank said. “When I can feel compassion for the salad guy when he’s behind, I am working as a team. I can help him. I’ve been in his shoes.”
Another important aspect to 3 Brothers, Tank said, is the atmosphere. “I picked the building out specifically [that] looks like a house,” he said. “It’s warm, it’s welcoming even before you step in.”
Once someone does step in, he said, they will find a tightknit staff that works well together. The staff always acknowledges customers when they enter, Tank said, even before they order.
“We want the people to feel that they’re going in a living room,” he said. “You’re coming home, you’re meeting your uncles, aunts, friends, loved ones. You’re having a dining experience that you can feel at home.”
Glen Cove resident Lauren Goglia said her daughter is a vegetarian and was a fan of the vegan oyster mushroom calamari, the seitan cutlet roll and the vegan buffalo “chicken” pizza. They’ve ordered from the restaurant multiple times.
“I think their vegan menu sets them apart from the other pizzerias in the area,” Goglia said. “We are very happy they are here.”
3 Brothers Restaurant & Pizzeria is located at 70 Forest Ave. in Glen Cove.