Casa Calamari has lost its casa.
City marshals evicted the popular Bath Beach Italian eatery — and Big Screecher favorite — from its 17-year location at the corner of 18th and Bath avenues on Oct. 2 after a prolonged legal battle between the focacceria and karaoke joint and its landlord.
Building owner Vito Aluzzo said that he had to take longtime tenant Rocco Loccisano to court last year after the chef and restauranteur repeatedly refused to pay the rent, utility bills, or taxes outlined in his lease.
“The guy was not paying his bills for the last four years,” said Aluzzo, adding that Loccisano’s failure to pay the eatery’s $3,000 a month water bill was sucking him dry. “He didn’t want to be responsible for the taxes or rent or nothing.”
Loccisano could not be reached for comment.
Beloved Courier Life columnist Carmine Santa Maria said he took Casa Calamari’s closure hard, having learned of its demise from a former waitress at the Sicilian dining spot.
“I’m lost without it,” Santa Maria said, recalling fondly how accessible the red sauce joint was to him on his scooter Tornado. “There aren’t that many Italian restaurants that are easy for me to get to.”
The Big Screecher also reminisced about the midday meal specials at the fried squid house.
“You got soup, you got a sandwich, and you got salad, all for seven dollars. I used to go there all the time,” said our esteemed columnist.
Santa Maria said he would probably begin going to L&B Spumoni Gardens on 86th Street between W. 10th and W. 11th streets for lunch instead.
One thing’s for sure, though: Carmine won’t be stuffing his face at 1801 Bath Ave. any time soon — Aluzzo has vowed to not rent the space again.
“There’s going to be no more restaurants. I’m just going to leave it empty,” Aluzzo said.