Lettuce Eat – why not?

(l-r) Daniel Marino, Alexis Diaz, Ana Kay, Wendy Marino, Jerry Kontonaris and Tommy Novellino in front of Lettuce Eat during their grand opening.
Photo by Robert Benimoff

Its name may sound limiting, but its menu tells quite a different story.

Lettuce Eat, a food establishment located at 1633 Crosby Avenue, is quickly proving that the business is more than just an everyday salad bar.

The eatery held its grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday, February 6, when the Lettuce Eat staff created a wide selection of dishes for its eager first-day customers.

Included on its menu are burgers, wraps, hot dogs and even breakfast options such as egg platters, omelettes and pancakes.

And don’t forget the selection of over 20 milkshake flavors and different choices of iced and hot coffee, tea and other soft drinks.

The journey to starting a successful business in Pelham Bay wasn’t easy for owner Wendy Marino, who tried to purchase a property on the same block and transform it into a restaurant in early 2011.

The deal eventually fell through, however, before Marino was presented with the opportunity to purchase 1633 Crosby Avenue.

After purchasing the property in August of last year, Marino renovated the vacant storefront.

“The best part of this experience has been seeing the smile on my customers’ faces and making them happy when I make their favorite dish,” said Marino, originally a native of Charlotte, NC, who moved to the Bronx in 1989 and has lived here ever since.

“It’s not about the money for me – it’s about providing for the customers as well as the neighborhood and satisfying them,” Marino said. “This makes me so happy – I love connecting with others and I just hope I’m able to continue to serve this community.”

Marino, whose son Daniel is “her right-hand man” behind the counter and in the kitchen, has worked previous restaurant jobs as a waitress in Manhattan, as well as the Paulding Restaurant (now Doyle’s Pub).

She also has experience in catering. She worked for her cousin’s Connecticut-based catering company.

Reach Reporter Steven Goodstein at (718) 260-4599. E-mail him at sgoodstein@cnglocal.com.

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