This is a long shot, but I'm on a mission. This is before chowhound joined with chow!
Around 2002, on Astoria Blvd & 29th Street, before that condo thing went up, there was a small rickety Italian restaurant that made REALLY GOOD pizzas, and it was really, really cheap. It was a little shack of a place, on the corner of a parking lot. The bathroom was on the lower level and it was stinky LOL!
I think the pizzas were brick oven. The pastas were terrific. The chef was the owner, who spoke little English. My husband and I had just gotten married, and we didn't have much money, but we went there like once a week or so. The chef used to send us free dessert. It was just so delicious and special for us.
Then one day, the place closed only to be bulldozed to make room for the giant condo thing that is there now. I am trying to track down what happened to the chef. I'm hoping he has resurfaced somewhere... I'm hoping some of you old timers would know, or AT LEAST know of the place. I can't even remember the name now :(
EDIT: OMG I FOUND IT: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/239466
La Locanda del Buongustaio
But I can't find anything else on it...