Classic Mineola-based pizzeria Plum Tomatoes started fresh with the new year with a pair of new owners.
Father-son team Bob and Bryan Berman decided to bring a fresh, young, and family oriented approach combined with years of experience to the restaurant, saying that they look forward to becoming an active part of the community as well. So far Mineola has been good to Bob and Bryan and the feelings are mutual.
“People in this area are fantastic. They’re extremely gracious,” the elder Berman said. “I enjoy meeting with people, being with people. I love sharing with people and hopefully can continue that.”
Pizza has run in the family. Berman previously owned several pizzerias in Suffolk County. Plum Tomatoes is his first restaurant in Nassau County. His son Bryan has always worked alongside his father since he was young and pizza felt like a natural calling.
“I started at 12 years old,” Bryan said. “I took other opportunities but nothing stuck like this did. I love the creative part. Trying different things and coming up with different slices. It’s great.”
The younger Berman follows through with his creative process, recalling a trip to Florida where he took back some ideas from a local pizza place as well as a trip to Israel where he “kept going into this place or that place. Every place I go I try to stop into a pizzeria to see how they do things.”
As for the pizza in Israel he said that “it’s not like home but they have good kebabs.”
His father shares the passion for food too.
“I always loved pizza. I loved Italian food,” Berman said with a chuckle adding “I think it shows a little too.”
He takes particular pride though when some of the workers from the area’s businesses like Winthrop Hospital and the courthouse complex come in and compare his pizza to competitors.
“I get to hear how my pizza stacks up against Brooklyn and Queens pizza,” he said. “When someone from Brooklyn tells you stack up, I’ll accept that.”
Both Bermans see the potential for the location; after graduating college Bryan came home and they talked about starting a venture together.
“He is a bit of my nature” his father said. “He enjoys meeting and being with people. He decided that the corporate way was not for him.”
The younger Berman plans on being here for as long as possible, saying that “we have the same goal when it comes to this place. I want to be here for years, decades. I’m sure it will take hard work.”
Both men look forward to putting good food in front of good people.
“Come in with your family, have a great meal and go out very happy,” Bob said. “It’s Roy how are you or Bob how are you? That’s how I conduct my life and this is nothing more than a microcosm of my life.”