It was a great holiday luncheon full of good cheer, merriment and fellowship when Mineola-Garden City Rotary held its annual Holiday Luncheon Party. Rotarians and guests gathered to honor two remarkable gentlemen with Rotary’s coveted Community Service award.
Greg Bavaro, owner of Garden City Pizza and Catering, along with Tony Lubrano, owner of the Piccola Bussola restaurant, more than live up to Rotary’s principal, “Service Above Self.” Both gentlemen represent this principal by the example they set in their everyday lives and the invaluable services they provide within their communities and beyond.
Bavaro has owned Garden City Pizza and Catering for the past 24 years. He started working in restaurants at the age of 15, which sparked his passion for the food industry.
Bavaro went on to attend the Culinary institute of America in Hyde Park from 1990-92, which included an internship at the Garden City Hotel. He returned to Garden City in 1997 at which time he purchased Garden City Pizza. Using his restaurant background, Bavaro expanded the pizzeria’s menu and grew a successful catering business delivering to homes and offices across Long Island.
Throughout the past 20 years, Bavaro has been involved with numerous charities, always believing in the importance of giving back to the community. He has been an avid supporter of the arts and athletics in Garden City Schools, the Bobby Menges I’m Not Done Yet Foundation, Charlie’s Champions, Andy Foundation, The INN, Garden City Sentinels, Winthrop Hospital, Hofstra University, Adelphi University, the Garden City Fire Department, Garden City PBA, the Long Island Children’s Museum, Sacred Heart Academy, Island Harvest, Atta Pepper Foundation, the Maurer Foundation, and as Bavaro says, “the list goes on and on.”
For the past 18 years, Bavaro has been co-chair of Long Island’s largest charity motorcycle ride having raised more than $1 million for March of Dimes, Long Island Cares and Melissa’s Wish. He is well known in the Garden City community not just for pizza, but also as a caterer who has been reported to go way over the top in his presentations.
In addition to his charity work and owning Garden City Pizza and Catering, Bavaro is involved in other business ventures, which include Clean Scene Laundromat in West Hempstead and Happy Nest Laundry Delivery Service. Bavaro lives in Huntington with his wife Carin and daughters Julia and Lauren.
As for the Mineola honoree, together with brothers John, Carlo and Marco, Lubrano has owned Piccola Bussola in Mineola for 18 years, Piccola Bussola in Huntington for 28 years and La Bussola in Glen Cove for 41 years. This family business was started by their father Pasquale.
Lubrano has been a board member of the Mineola Chamber of Commerce for 18 years, having served as vice president followed by three years as president. He has served on committees for the Mineola Street Fair, Taste & Style of Mineola, Movie Night, Chamber scholarships and the Mineola Wall of Honor. Each year the Lubranos prepare 3,000 meatballs for the Mineola Junior Firefighters Pasta Dinner and hand out 400 cups of hot chocolate for the Mineola Holiday Tree Lighting.
Together with Harry Zapiti, Lubrano has run “Night on the Town” at Jericho Terrace for the past nine years. The event has raised more than 1.2 million dollars for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
“Although the goal of raising $1 million in our father’s memory has already been met, until there is a cure, we fight on,” Lubrano said. He reports that next “Night on the Town” will take place on April 27, 2022 at Jericho Terrace.
Lubrano notes that together with an amazing group of friends, he started the nonprofit “Warriors for a Cause” and currently serves as president. This organization supports a wide range of causes, which include The Michael Magro Foundation, Carly Rose Foundation, Bosom Buddies as well as many smaller grass root efforts. Through Warriors for a Cause, Lubrano played an active role in getting a smart home built in Melville for double amputee Army Crpl. Chris Levi.
For the past nine years, Lubrano has participated in the Stephen Siller Foundation’s Tunnel to Towers by bringing some 400 people each year to the event. During the pandemic together with his wife Nancy, Lubrano delivered more than 7,000 meals to first responders.
Although Piccola Bussola in Mineola burned down in August 2020, Lubrano keeps busy for now working with his brothers at their other two locations. The process is slowly moving forward for rebuilding with the expectation of reopening in 2022.
—Submitted by Mineola-Garden City Rotary Club