For more than 125 years, Vincent’s Clam Bar has brought a vintage Italian-American dining experience to Westbury. In the last seven years, it has been voted Long Island’s Best Italian Restaurant and Best Overall Restaurant, winning Best Calamari 10 years in a row.
The story of Vincent’s begins in 1894, when Giuseppe and Carmela Siano sold mussels, clams and scungilli out of a pushcart on the streets of Little Italy. Their business became so successful that they eventually moved to a storefront on the corner of Mott and Hester streets where the original store still stands. The two would name the store after their son, Vincent.
Today, Vincent’s maintains that same focus. Vincent’s guarantees it’s fresher than any other seafood, especially when it comes to their clams.
“Long Island has the best clams in the world. Period,” said Bobby Marisi, who has owned the restaurant for 37 years. “The clam that you eat here slept in the ocean last night.”
That focus on quality seafood is something Marisi believes separates them from the pack when it comes to other Italian restaurants. They also credit being able to derive from their history and prominence as an original Little Italy restaurant.
“We’re deeply entrenched in preserving the Italian-American dining experience,” Marisi said over the phone as Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” played in the background.
“It is a thick, rich, slightly sweet Italian tomato sauce that contains no basil, no garlic, no chunks, no green stuff,” Marisi said.
When they’re not serving award-winning food, Vincents is giving back to the community. Perhaps most notable is the work with the Cornell Collective.
“We’re part of a program that takes oyster and clam shells and reinstitutes them back into the bays on Long island to create artificial reefs that can then be seeded by oysters and clams with the idea that the same oyster can filter 50 gallons of water a day,” Marisi said.
The future looks exciting. New stores will open in New Jersey, Connecticut and Florida.
“It’s just a great atmosphere,” Marisi said about the restaurant. “It’s a fun, festive, full of energy, throwback Italian restaurant.”