STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Reggie Hadzi retired from the restaurant business about two years ago — or so he thought. After a brief respite during COVID and a trip back to his hometown Ulcinj, Montenegro, the chef longed to be back in the business. With some family encouragement came the birth of Trattoria Oliveto at 1642 Hylan Blvd. in Dongan Hills.

The restaurant’s moniker hails from the olive groves of the Old Country, as noted in this week’s episode of The Dish. Reggie’s daughter, Pasha Lajka, is a partner in the business.


Reggie’s Mediterranean concept at Trattoria Oliveto culls from a lifetime of work in Italian restaurants. In the mid-1980s, fresh to America and New York City, he worked by happenstance under dynamic Tuscan chef and author Pino Luongo. At Tre Giovani, a successful Northern Italian restaurant in Greenwich Village, Luongo mentored Reggie who looked to own his own place.

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