(Jason Schott – New York Sports Day)
In the shadow of Citi Field and the United States Tennis Center is Leo’s Latticini Mama’s of Corona, a bakery with a touch of home.
For Mets fans, they are known from their kiosks at Shea Stadium and Citi Field and can be spotted at Citi Field by their unique red-and-white check boxes.
The Mets and their players visit frequently, and there are pictures of Owner Fred Wilpon and stars like David Wright on one of the windows outside, as well as Mets memorabilia inside.
Their heros are a big hit, especially the Mama’s Special, prosciuttini salami, mozzarella, with mushrooms and peppers. They also have a Super Italian hero, prosciutto sorpresatta, cappicola, and mozzarella. They also have an Italian classic, Antipasto.
Everything is baked on the premises, with plenty of Italian favorites, such as pastries, cannolis, Italian biscuitini cookies, and cakes.
One of the owners of Mama’s, Irene DeBenedittis, said of the store’s history, “My grandmother and grandfather started this store about 85 years ago and mom and my father, they took over. They originally were from Brooklyn, but they came to Corona because it was supposed to be farms and country, a better place to grow the children. It ended up that they stayed here and they established the business here. We make all the fresh mozzarella here and (my sister) Marie does all the cooking, she does different hot specials every day.”
DeBenedittis said of how Mama’s got involved with the Mets, “They approached up about 15 years ago, they wanted some local fare, some local food there. They wanted Italian, and we have been here for so long. For a few years, they kept asking us and we were hesitant because we thought, you know, it’s a big thing being in a stadium, and we didn’t know if we could handle it. Afterwards, it seems like now so much food has come to Citi Field. nice people come by, and it’s nice the exposure that gives us because a lot of different people come to find us here. They want to find the real store.”
It is known as Mama’s of Corona at Citi Field, and Leo’s Latticini at their outpost on 104th Street.
DeBenedittis said of the origin of the name, “Laticcini means ‘dairy products, latte is milk, and’ Leo was my mom’s maiden name. Her grandfather was Frank Leo, so that’s where Leo came from.
“It’s exciting, all these years have passed and we’re still doing the same things that they did when they were little or they do when they come back to visit family,” said DeBenedittis.
On their kiosks at Citi Field, DeBenedittis said, “We don’t have a big menu at the stadium. We have the Mama’s Special, the Italian one, we have the turkey and the mozzarella with the gravy that they like, and plain mozzarella, and then we make the salads. Downstairs, we have more of the full menu. This season, the upstairs has been open more. We’re trying to get it going. We have our own fan base, like our own people that come by, we have a group that come by for the sandwiches.”
This off-season, they have been busy catering parties at Mets offices, with the excitement of the World Series still fresh in the minds of the people of Queens.
Leo’s Latticini is located at 46-02 104th Street, Corona, NY 11368 (718)898-6069