Written by Lyn Dobrin Friday, 10 May 2013 00:00
It was the first day of school in 1981 and Dave Creo, a new 10th grade transfer student, boarded the bus. By chance, he took a seat next to Paul Moncada. “I got on the bus,” says Creo, “and sat down next to my future best friend, roommate, business partner, best man at my wedding, and godfather to my first child.” Moncada adds that Creo was best man at his wedding and godfather to his first child.
Creo and Moncada are the founders and co-owners of New York Ravioli and Pasta based in New Hyde Park, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.
The two knew early on that they wanted to go into business together and food seemed a natural choice. Moncada’s family owned a deli/catering business and both had worked in restaurants in their teens. They started in May of 1993 with six items. The ravioli were the same shape with different fillings, all made on one square ravioli machine.
Their first manufacturing facility was a converted insurance office; then they moved to 8,000 square feet in Mineola. Five years ago they and 20 employees moved into the specially designed 14,000-square-foot New Hyde Park plant.
In addition to the quality of the product, they credit their employees with their success. “We’ve surrounded ourselves with a good network of supporting characters,” says Creo. “We have found and have been found by a lot of hard-working, motivated people.” Many of the staff have been with them since the first day, including their chef Jose Dimas.
The pasta is made from semolina and wheat flour. Everything is natural–no preservatives, artificial colors or additives. A quick response to what the public wants is a hallmark of the business.
“We knew from the get-go that we needed to be a step ahead of other companies,” says Moncada. “That’s why we develop so many different kinds of fillings.” In addition to traditional cheese and meat, some of their offerings include roasted eggplant with ricotta and fresh mozzarella, plus a combination of spinach, artichokes, truffles and almonds.
There’s more than ravioli: manicotti, stuffed shells, tortellini, tortelloni, cavatelli, gnocchi, fresh pasta, plus homemade sauces. Responding to the holidays, they make, for instance, a heart-shaped ravioli for Valentine’s Day and shamrocks for St. Patrick’s Day. Their biggest hit has been the Jolie-shaped ravioli for children.
Says Moncada, “Kids love mac and cheese and pizza, so we’ve incorporated those into the Jolie line.” He says parents love their Jolie broccoli and cheddar cheese “because it gets some vegetables into the children’s bellies.”
There is a small retail shop at the New Hyde Park plant where products can be purchased to take home, plus a catering menu.
New York Ravioli & Pasta Co. is located at 12 S. Denton Ave. in New Hyde Park. The phone number is 516-741-7287 and the website is www.nyravioli.com.