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News12 Guide: Brunch with Santa

He knows when you’re sleeping. And he knows when you’re awake. And now he can know when you’re having breakfast, because you can have it with him! Grab your little ones and head out to meet the big guy himself, Santa, for some photos, fun and breakfast! Please check with locations before heading out, as dates and times are subject to change.

Dec. 2 & 9
Vespa Italian Kitchen & Bar

282 Main St.
Farmingdale, NY 11735
(516) 586-8542
Time: Dec. 2 – 12p-3p; Dec. 9 – 12p-3p
Info: Brunch with Santa, bring cameras for pictures in Santa’s sleigh.



NEWSDAY: Vespa Italian Kitchen & Bar in Farmingdale and more Long Island restaurants to try this weekend


 A sausage and kale soup ($7) thick with white beans was a fine lunch at Vespa Italian Kitchen & Bar in Farmingdale on a chilly afternoon. I ordered it with a side of cauliflower that kept my attention ($9). Roasted and mashed with garlic and olive oil, it was a near-guilty pleasure like fries or mashed potatoes.

I ordered off the main menu, though there is a separate lunch menu which includes a half-salad and sandwich for $13.95, a half-salad and soup for $10.95 and 10-inch pizzas that start at $9.

Vespa opened on Main Street this summer, the third restaurant from Ben and Cynthia Lomanto and their son Michael — the team behind Spuntino in St. James and Dix Hills.

Restaurant Week Menu!

3 Course Pre-fixe Menu

$27.95 Per Person (plus tax)

No Substitutions


Casesar (or) Simple Salad


Choice of One

Pollo Alla Padella

Rigatoni Alla Vodka

Grilled Sausage & Brocoli Rabe

Pappardelle Bolognese

Pappardelle Melanzane

Chicken Milanese


Coffee (or) Tea

Gratuity not included

LI PULSE: Vespa Italian Kitchen & Bar Brings Sicily to Farmingdale

Vespa Italian Kitchen & Bar Brings Sicily to Farmingdale

Italian-style Sunday dinners are an option every day of the week at Vespa Italian Kitchen & Bar in Farmingdale. And, as anyone who has ever experienced a true Italian dinner knows, the recipe for a good meal includes generations of family members. Vespa Italian Kitchen’s menu delivers, offering countless Sicilian dishes that have been in the Lo Manto family for decades.

“People don’t come here and get chicken parmigiana or chicken francese; it’s not that type of place,” said owner Michael Lo Manto, who opened the spot with father Ben Lo Manto and mother Cynthia Lo Manto in June. “We serve food that comes from our town in Italy like osso bucco, chickpeas and rice balls.”

The Lo Manto family has been in the restaurant business for more than a decade and has two other eateries operating under a single well-known brand: Spuntino. After years of managing the pizzeria-spirited establishments, the family decided to change things up and create a Brooklyn-style eatery with a casual yet upscale vibe.

“It’s a little loud[er] and [more] hip. You can come dressed up, hang out at the marble bar and expect to get great food.”

People have been raving about Vespa Italian Kitchen & Bar’s drinks, too. The 16-seat bar houses The Sporco, a 72-hour infused Bivi vodka (that is used for cooking as well as cocktails) made with Sicilian Castelvetrano green olives.

Vespa Italian Kitchen & Bar

Vespa Italian Kitchen & Bar

It fares wonderfully with the meatballs & burrata, a three meat blend of veal, pork and beef served with fresh mozzarella cheese, Parmigiano Reggiano and basil that is drizzled in a creamy Pomodoro sauce.

As for the entrées, the heaping plate of pasta con le sarde has been one of their most coveted so far. A rich blend of sardines, roasted garlic, fennel fronds, cauliflower, pine nuts, raisins and Pecorino Romano cheese dressed in a plum tomato sauce is definitely a forchettata to be reckoned with.

The secret is in the dough, freshly hand-made in the kitchen and served al dente, the pasta is extra indulgent.

The most important ingredient at Vespa Italian Kitchen & Bar is no secret: it all comes back to family.

“At the end of the day we want people to really feel like they are coming to their own dinner table, with their own family and fostering those relationships.”

Buon appetito.


NEWSDAY: The best things to eat on Long Island

Funghi pizzetta at Vespa Italian Kitchen & Bar

The roaring wood-fired oven at Vespa Italian Kitchen

(Credit: Yvonne Albinowski)The roaring wood-fired oven at Vespa Italian Kitchen & Bar in Farmingdale delivers a distinctively charred and airy funghi pizzetta that is notable for its sautéed button and portabella mushrooms and truffle oil drizzle. The flavor is earthy and peppery — the latter from a handful of arugula.

Pappardelle melanzane at Vespa Italian Kitchen & Bar

Pappardelle melanzane, thick ribbons of pasta with Marsala-eggplant

(Credit: Yvonne Albinowski)Pappardelle melanzane, thick ribbons of pasta with Marsala-eggplant ragu, ricotta and ricotta salata, is served at Vespa Italian Kitchen & Bar in Farmingdale.

Osso buco at Vespa Italian Kitchen & Bar

The osso bucco at Vespa Italian Kitchen &

(Credit: Yvonne Albinowski)The osso bucco at Vespa Italian Kitchen & Bar in Farmingdale is a hit on all three of its elements. A 28-ounce bone-in pork shank simmers in tomato sauce for four hours, until the meat yields to a fork and the liquid concentrates in flavor. The shank rests on a mushroom and green and yellow squash risotto creamy enough to be a stand-alone dish.

Linguine with white clam sauce at Vespa Italian Kitchen & Bar

The linguine with clam sauce at Vespa Italian

(Credit: Yvonne Albinowski)The linguine with clam sauce at Vespa Italian Kitchen & Bar in Farmingdale has straightforward flavors from clam juice and garlic. Spread throughout the pasta are chopped clams, topped with about 10 tender whole ones.

Grilled sausage and broccoli rabe at Vespa Italian Kitchen & Bar


(Credit: Yvonne Albinowski)Grilled “pinwheel” parsley-cheese pork sausage served with sautéed broccoli rabe is an honest, tasty plate at Vespa Italian Kitchen & Bar in Farmingdale.