Islip Town officials and West Islip Chamber of Commerce members welcomed Mexican eatery, Bang Bang Burritos, to the community during a ribbon-cutting ceremony in late October.
The taqueria, which opened November 2019, is the brainchild of West Islip resident Frank Carbone, his partner, Barbara Pagliarulo, and his brother, Joseph Carbone.
Carbone, who emigrated to the country from Sicily, Italy, at age 12, owns and operates Frank’s Barber Shop, only a half-mile down Union Boulevard. His customers were always on the hunt for local Mexican cuisine, he said.
“I had a lot of people saying to me, ‘I wish we had a burritos and tacos place in town, because we’re tired of eating pizza and Chinese,’” he said. “I told them that if something came up, I’d do something.”
So last year, when Carbone saw that Pudgie’s Famous Chicken at 464 Union Boulevard closed its doors, he jumped on the opportunity.
The menu, crafted by local chef Marvin Diaz, serves up Mexican dishes with an Americanized twist. Pagliarulo said one of the most popular items is the West Islip Lion burrito, which contains chicken fingers, roasted potatoes, mozzarella sticks, bacon, cheese, sour cream and baja sauce. The restaurant’s colorful theme – including Pepe, the business’ vegetable mascot – was designed by Pagliarulo.
The taqueria was only open for four months when the pandemic struck. Carbone said it was scary – he thought he’d be forced to close both his businesses. Miraculously, Bang Bang stayed open and quickly transitioned to takeout orders and deliveries, following New York State guidelines.
Throughout the pandemic, the restaurant made several donations to local hospital workers. In March, May and October, the restaurant offered meals to Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center. They also made donations to Southside Hospital in Bay Shore, Carbone said.
“They helped us in this pandemic, so I wanted to give back to them,” he said.
Islip supervisor Angie Carpenter, who attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony, said: “It is always gratifying to welcome a new business to the Town of Islip. On behalf of the town board, we wish you a long partnership with the West Islip community.”
Business is better these days, Pagliarulo said, as it’s dominated by online orders through UberEats, DoorDash, Grubhub and Postmates. “Our online ordering has really creeped up; it’s a lot bigger than walk-in orders,” Pagliarulo said.
The eatery also partnered with Beach Street Middle School Parent-Teachers Association to support West Islip students in the district.
In the future, Carbone aims to open up another Bang Bang restaurant in Sayville, but details have not yet been finalized.
“I love this town, and I love Mexican food – the concept of freshness, it’s delicious and beautiful,” Carbone said. “I absolutely love what I do.”