After three decades of slinging dough and making sauce in Babylon Village, Gino’s Pizza owner Keith Dahmen is moving onto his next chapter in life: retirement.

Dahmen has owned the pizzeria at 258 Deer Park Avenue for the last 36 years. He recently sold the place to new owners.

To thank the community for their support over the years, the pizzamaker shared a letter to the public. Read it below.

Check back at GreaterBabylon to learn more about the new owners.

Letter from Keith Dahmen

Dear Friend,

Some people grew up wanting to be sports stars or actors. Some wanted to be president. I always wanted to be in the pizza business in a community full of love and support.

I started my career as a delivery boy. I loved going to work, helping out at the shop and bringing delicious pizza to people’s homes. Pizza means a lot more to people than just bread, sauce and cheese. Because of the pizza I delivered, I knew people would be having a needed night in, a delicious meal and time with their families.

I then opened Gino’s of Babylon in 1983 when I was just 18 years old. As a young business owner, I went through ups and downs, like everyone else in the Babylon community. But no matter what, we kept our doors open and worked hard to provide a place where people could come, meet friends and family and get a good slice.

Early on in the Gino’s of Babylon journey, we encountered some serious good and bad times. In 1986, we had a fire, Hurricane Gloria struck Long Island and the Mets won the World Series. In 1994, we opened at 258 Deer Park Avenue, where we have been ever since. Being in the community for more than 35 years, I have watched high school kids come in for a slice and grow into adults who bring their children, and even grandchildren, into Gino’s for a slice too.

Gino’s of Babylon was there when Superstorm Sandy flooded many parts of the South Shore. When people lost their homes and couldn’t get in touch with loved ones, I was proud to serve pizzas to help bring a warm meal and a sense of normalcy back to people’s lives.

While I worked hard to build Gino’s of Babylon into the business it is today, I could not have done it without the loyal, dedicated, hard-working and caring staff that have been with me since the beginning and that have come and gone throughout the years.

We pride ourselves on being a family business, both because we worked to create an atmosphere where families could join together and because we considered ourselves to be a family.

I was also lucky to have opened it in Babylon, which is such a special community. I cannot thank Babylon enough for the love and support over the years.

Last but not least, I want to send my sincere love and gratitude to our loyal customers. We have delivered more than 700,000 pizzas since opening, which is a major point of pride for the Gino’s of Babylon family. It is difficult to make a living on Long Island, and I have considered it an honor to have served people who spend their hard earn money on the pizza we make.

While it is time for me to move on from Gino’s of Babylon, I can do so knowing that the legacy we have all built together, as a family and community, will continue under new ownership.

Allow me to be the first to introduce you to the new owners of Gino’s of Babylon. James, Nikki and Billy are taking over the reigns and will continue to run Gino’s of Babylon as a family business that is dedicated to the community. They are bringing in their 20 years of experience in the pizza business and I am confident that Gino’s of Babylon will remain a great place to spend time with family over a good slice.

It is now time to fulfill the next dreams in my life: spending time with my grandchildren and traveling this beautiful country with the love of my life.

While my role in the community is changing, I remain dedicated to being a good neighbor. Please make sure to stay in touch with me on Facebook where you can also follow my travels. And maybe we can meet up along the way.

With sincere love and gratitude,

Your neighbor,

Keith Dahmen

Oldie photo of Keith Dahmen at Gino’s Pizza (courtesy)

Top: Current and oldie photo of Keith Dahmen at Gino’s Pizza (courtesy).