Orfino's Restaurant: New Space, Same Ambience

The 32-year-old Briarcliff Manor restaurant opens for the first time at its new location today.

The Orfino family may not live in Briarcliff Manor, but they couldn't imagine doing business anywhere else.

"I'm very attached to my customers," said Linda Orfino, who co-owns Orfino's Restaurant along with her husband Michael.

Regulars of the 32-year-old Pleasantville Road eatery, Michael said, will even text their reservations to Linda's cell phone. And many of them were there for the couple when the restaurant was forced to close for a month after a fire in August 2010.

"I figured we would never open again," Linda reflected, but then recalled the support and love she received from the community that convinced her to change her tune.

And now the eatery's fans will be experiencing another milestone—Orfino's Restaurant is moving across the street to 1104 Pleasantville Rd., the former Amalfi Restaurant and will open for the first time there today.

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"We have been watching this space for about 10 years," Linda said. "We outgrew our space. We would have to turn away customers on Friday and Saturday nights...there was no place for them to wait for a table. We were busting at the seams."

In total, the new spot offers about 55 more seats, including a "High Top" room featuring 24 high tables for late night fare and a 12-seat bar.

The Orfinos' son, Michael Jr., took over as head chef at the restaurant about nine months ago and he's looking forward to serving small plates in this new area that seats 24 near the bar.

"He's going to do things like pulled pork sliders, spinach and artichoke dip, wings and nachos," Linda said. "His barbecue sauce is made from scratch."

This nook of the restaurant will stay open to midnight to accommodate late night crowds, while the main dining room will maintain its current hours; though it will not open early for breakfast on Saturday anymore.

The menu will also otherwise remain the same—"We carried them over here," Linda said.

She noted though, that since former Chef Doug Tucci's departure, Michael Orfino Jr. has added some creative dishes to the menu that changes with the seasons.

"It's Italian, but it's not jut pasta," Linda explained. "We do ribs, we do steak, we do fish—we do it all. We do a full cuisine with an Italian flair."

Appetizers at Orfino's range from a stuffed portobello mushroom ($9) to pumpkin polenta ($10). There is also a range of salads, a $12.95 "Pasta Night" menu on Wednesdays, a kids' menu, as well as lunch and brunch specials like the spinach and onion frittata ($10.95), paninis ($9.95 to $10.95) and wraps ($9.95).

The dinner menu features a large number of entrées, including "Orfino's Classics" like Clams Oreganata ($13 for 12) and pasta, meat and seafood options.

"We are not changing the menu at all because that's what works for us, Said Linda.

And while she noted some longtime customers worried the larger space might not offer the intimate and comfortable feel the former restaurant was known for, The Orfinos are determined to retain the same atmosphere.

"I have kept that in mind in everything we have done," Linda said.

Orfino's Restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and closed Sunday. At the new location, tapas will be available until 12 a.m. 914-941-7353.


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