Ciao Baby's "gargantuan" portions got them featured on Man v. Food, the Travel Channel show that travels across the country to find the biggest, baddest food challenges and portions.
"They filmed it already and it will air at the end of July. We're all fans; you talk about it, but you never think they'll call you, until one day you pick up the phone and they're on the other end, you jump on it," manager Giovanni Russo said.
Man v. Food host, Adam Richman sampled their riceballs and their meat platter. Richman made it to both the Commack and Massapequa Park locations, but the filming took place in Massapequa Park.
According to Russo, the riceballs are "the size of your head" and the meat platter "is what Sunday dinner dreams" are made of.
In ten years, the original Ciao Baby hasn't faced much competition. The Italian family-style restaurant was started by two brothers and two friends who had experience in the hospitality industry, but wanted "something of their own," according to Russo. "Their own" included bumped up sizes and, when the recession hit, lowered prices.
"You go to different Italian restaurants for different things. If we competed with every Italian restaurant we'd compete with a ton of restaurants in New York. You go to different Italian restaurants for different things; here it's the portions," Russo said.
"The meat platter includes four huge meatballs, sausage, homemade sauce and pasta. It's what people who dream about Sunday dinners want to have. We are the featured restaurant, not the challenge restaurant on the TV show," Russo said.
The meat platter may be a favorite, but it's not the most popular; that's the Gemelli.
"It's crumbled sausage, mushrooms and broccoli rabe with a sun-dried tomato cream sauce over Gemelli pasta, with ricotta cheese on top; it's definitely the most popular dish," Russo said.
They also feature a plaque showcasing their "regulars."
"You get on it by coming in, hanging out, being a regular customer. Some people hang out at the bar as well," Russo said.
Many come for the family style dining, still others come for the price fixe menu that was instituted in December 2008 as a way to combat the recession.
"The recession has pretty much hurt every business—including ours, but the menu helped," Russo said.
The price fixe menu includes three specials: the weekday special, a choice of salad or appetizer, entrée and dessert for $12.08 until 4:00 p.m., the "50/50" half-off cocktails, appetizers and wine from 4:00 p.m.- 7:00 p.m. Happy Hour special, and the Sunday-Friday three-course family style meal for $24.95 a person.
Check out our latest review of Ciao Baby.