The celebrated and beloved Totonno’s Pizzeria (1524 Neptune Avenue) has had a rough couple years in keeping its doors open. First they were hit by a fire in 2009, and more recently they were knocked out of commission by Superstorm Sandy. Still closed months after the storm struck, owners Cookie Cimineri and Antoinette Balzano have struggled to acquire the loans needed to reopen, according to a report by Serious Eats.
(UPDATE [January 17, 2013]: Totonno’s told New York Daily News that they vow to reopen, no matter what the odds.)
Apparently, Totonno’s is the victim of bad timing when it came to the loan application process. Totonno’s is still paying off the $200,000 in loans they took on from their 2009 fire, and because of this, the NYC Business Development Corporation’s denied the pizzeria’s $25,ooo loan request.
“They have to go by the last year,” Antoinette explained to Serious Eats, speaking of financial records and the loan application process. “For the last 2 years, we’ve been paying off the $200,000 loan from the fire.”
Totonno’s also applied for a $150,000 loan from the Small Business Administration (SBA), but have yet to hear back from them.
All hope for Totonno’s hasn’t been lost yet, as Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz took it upon himself to get the pizzeria’s NYCBDC loan request re-reviewed.
Still, the path to reopening Totonno’s again is not easy. Antoinette lamented to Serious Eats about her dealings with unreliable mold inspectors and contractors who are draining her money but not her will.
“The last [contractor], he was a con artist. My sister didn’t get 3 cents for 11 months. How do you live when you have bills to pay? A family to feed?Totonno’s doesn’t make a lot of money. It’s about passion.”
Here’s hoping the pizza gods do all they can to keeping the city’s best pizza coming out of the oven.