The old Savoia: Now that’s Italian! 1

The Savoia Italian restaurant, at 80-13 Roosevelt Ave. in Jackson Heights, summer 1965.

The Savoia, steeped in the tradition of great Italian restaurants and superior cuisine, served everyone from monsignors from Rome to Willie Mays of the New York Mets.

The building it was in, on Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights, started out in life as the Hong Hand Laundry. In 1939 The Savoia was born and started serving visitors to the World’s Fair. The el out front was a familiar reminder of the Third Avenue El for Manhattanites.

Inside, the skillful wood paneling and partitions created an intimate atmosphere to seat 200 diners. Original paintings decorated the walls, adding charm. It was open from 12 noon to 2 a.m. every day. Most important of all, the cuisine was cooked fresh and made to order as you liked it.

Adding to the atmosphere was the handsome host, Frank Falgiano of Bayside, who loved horses and could talk racetrack language to anyone. He raced his own horses for years. From jockeys to Supreme Court judges, all found him entertaining, funny and amusing.

Sadly, by the mid-1970s business had dropped off due to the great influx of immigrants into the area who did not have the disposable income to dine out and were just trying to make ends meet. The Savoia was sold in 1977 and became the AN-VIR Restaurant, which quickly folded up.

The building became home to The Yun Hong Corp. in the 1980s. Today The One Stop General Store is located there, selling household utility items. Public records show the building is now owned by The Trading Realty of Queens Inc.

Sadly, Falgiano passed away in 2010. The name Savoia lives on in an Italian restaurant on Smith Street in Red Hook, Brooklyn, which may or may not be connected to this once great Queens restaurant.

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