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Carmine's Pizzeria to Expand With Sports Bar Next Door

 Carmine Gangone is opening a sports bar next to Carmine's Pizzeria.
Carmine's Pizzeria
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WILLIAMSBURG — Carmine Gangone has been slinging pizza at his family's Williamsburg restaurant since he was 7 years old — and soon he'll be pouring beer next door as well.

Carmine's Pizzeria, which Gangone's dad opened 34 years ago on Graham Avenue after emigrating from Salerno, Italy, is expanding this fall with a 3,000-square-foot sports bar that will share a kitchen with the original restaurant.

"I always had a niche for pizza and sports. You can have a slice of a pizza or spaghetti and watch a game," said Gangone, 40, of Carmine's Sports Bar, set to open in November with about 10 beers on draft, a wood-fired pizza oven and 13 TV's.

"We'll close each night when the final game is done," Gangone added. "It'll be a clean-cut spot."

Gangone — who took over his dad's business in 1992 and expanded with another Carmine's Restaurant nearby on Union Avenue — said 358 Graham Ave. was an ideal location for his traditional pizzeria and bar, since the population has stayed more consistent than it has on streets even a few blocks away.

"On Union Avenue you have mostly new people, but you have about 80 percent of the original residents on Graham Avenue," Gangone said of the diverse mix that has remained on the strip, contributing to the pizzeria's success. "This is a homey area."

Devoted customer Peter Trapani, who dines at Carmine's about five times each week, said he was eager to hop next door as soon as the sports bar opened.

"The food's only gotten better," said Trapani, 66, a native of Italy who's visited Carmine's for the past 20 years. "One day I'll have fish, the next spaghetti, then steak or a hamburger. He's got everything here."

Carmine's Sports Bar will include the same diverse menu options as the pizzeria, plus a few "bar snacks," Gangone said, noting that he was only struggling with one critical decision about the watering hole.

"My hardest decision is whether I'm going to be loyal and stay with the Yankees for decoration or have other sports teams. I feel like I'm betraying the Yankees if I show other teams," said Gangone, a lifelong Yankees fan.

But opening the sports bar was as simple of a decision as the one his dad made opening their first eatery in 1979.

"When they came here back in the day, there weren't any jobs," Gangone said. "He was a baker by trade, and he needed to make a living."