By Susan Monteleone
LAKE HUNTINGTON January 28, 2003 History was made along the banks of Lake Huntington on January 18, when Petes Pub celebrated 30 years in business in the hamlet named after the lake.
In 1972, Pete and Anita Toscano purchased the cute little pub with a dream to be successful and a nice country atmosphere in which to raise their three children. The Toscanos purchased the building with the intent to leave it solely as a pub, but as customers came in, the delicious smells from Anitas cooking caught their noses. So, with a little bit of time and a little bit of work, the little pub turned into a sizable restaurant for family and friends.
Then in 1998, Pete and Anita decided it was time to retire and enjoy life with their family and grandchildren but instead of selling the well-known pub to a stranger, Pete and Anitas daughter, Maria Toscano Forlenza, took over the family business.
Maria had been in the kitchen cooking with her mom since she was little, and she knew almost all of her mothers recipes by heart.
At the recent celebration, Anita and Pete addressed the packed pub and stated, It is so hard to believe that we have been here 30 years. The pub holds many, many memories for us, and we have come to know many wonderful people through the pub. We came here with a dream, and without our many customers and friends, we could not have made our dream come true.
Many of you have helped us in so many ways through the years. You have given us advice, offered help and bargains, recipes, cookware and dinnerware. Many of you have bussed the tables and washed dishes when we were just so busy, stated Anita.
The thanks did not end there.
We raised three children here, and some of you had a part of that too. Our customers and friends always had time for our children, Dina, Peterson, Maria and our exchange student son Manuel from Spain. When the weekends got busy, you helped take our children to their ballgames, to the movies, skating and some of you even assisted in helping them learn to drive. All of you have done so much for us.
The Toscanos also thanked the many people who have worked for them over the years.
We have had excellent employees, and they worked the long, crazy hours. They gave us great advice and took all of my screaming with great stride. We are also proud of those who continued with their education and still managed to work for us at Petes. We could not have come this far without our valued employees, stated Anita.
Petes Pub is now in its fourth generation of operation. Maria and her husband Pat, along with Marias sons Greg and Geoffrey, are now the driving force behind its success, but Anita still comes in on Thursday nights to cook and visit, running the kitchen the same way she has for the past three decades.
The Toscanos also have four granddaughters, Heather, Kristien, Julie and Melanie, and their father Brian, who all help out at the pub when they are in the area.
Petes Pub ended the night of dancing, fine food and friends with a tribute to the Toscanos. Dancing DJ Dan, who filled the room with upbeat music, called the entire Toscano family to the center of the dance floor and, in a loving tribute, had the many friends and customers in attendance form a circle around them while playing the song, Thats What Friends Are For.
Not a dry eye could be found.