AcQua in Merrick Changes Name to Fabio’s on the Water

AcQua on Bayberry Avenue in Merrick has changed its name to Fabio’s on the Water, after owner Fabio Giambanco, who teased that he’s looking for a spot to open a second location.

Tucked in at the south end of Bayberry Avenue on one of the many little peninsulas jutting into the bays between Jones Beach and Merrick Avenue is a family style Italian restaurant that until very recently was called AcQua. As of November 1st, AcQua officially became Fabio’s on the Water.

For ten years, owner Fabio Giambanco has had to contend with a unique problem in the modern restaurant industry, confusion on the internet between his restaurant and a similarly named spot just a few miles away in Bellmore called Villa D’Aqua.

Fabio's on the Water

The problem is that online reviewers constantly confuse the two restaurants. Not only that, when people recommended AcQua in Merrick on popular online groups like Dine-LI, people would always ask, “which one?” Despite the slight difference in the name and location, diners inevitably became confused. And if the experience at one place was less than stellar, well, let’s say bad news travels fast.

“You have one person with a bad taste then you have ten people with a bad taste,” said Giambanco at his restaurant recently, explaining his problem to “But if you have one person with a good taste then you only have one person with a good taste.”

He said that there were multiple times with AcQua-hosted private events where half of the guests ended up at Villa D’Aqua.

He also had an advertising problem.

“A lot of people find us through online reviews,” he said. “We don’t have a sign on Merrick Road or Sunrise Highway.”

So after a decade, Giambanco had to take matters into his own hands. He bit the bullet and changed the name to Fabio’s on the Water.

“Ten years have gone by and we finally decided to do it,” he said.

It is the first step in reclaiming the restaurant’s own brand after years of confusion and possibly on the verge of an expansion. Future plans call for another location possibly to the north, according to Giambanco. As the name implies, Fabio’s on the Water comes with a waterview but the attraction is fabulous for the summer but not as inviting in the winter. Giambanco says his next location will be less seasonally affected.

Fabio's on the Water dining room

Despite that, Giambanco’s 287-seat restaurant has enough space for large private parties that keep them busy in the winter along with special offers and events.

Aside from a new name, the newest addition to the restaurant is a renovated bar area with a modern look, wave walls and illuminated stone for the bartop. Giambanco said that he hadn’t updated the bar in 11 years and it needed a change.

“You can’t change the name and not do something,” he said.

Visit Fabio’s on the Water at 1944 Bayberry Avenue in Merrick. Find them online at

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