Archive for the tag 'pizza'

grandpas

When Grandpa’s Pizza Cafe opened up less than four months ago at 2224 Avenue U, I believed we had finally seen the end of the curse on a corner that has seen several unsuccessful businesses come and go. It had good reviews, the decor was nice, and there’s nary another pizzeria for several blocks.

Alas, no. I was wrong. Grandpa’s Pizza Cafe is now closed. According to an online listing, the owner held an auction for the equipment on May 14.

Grandpa’s opened in late January, replacing South Brooklyn Pizza, which had served up pies for less than a yearBefore South Brooklyn Pizza, there was Calabrese Pizza & Restaurant, which was also short-lived. Before that, there was Tai Yuan, which was open for only a few weeks. Tai Shan preceded that – again, surviving only a few months.

That brings us to six restaurants in five years. Maybe somebody ought to give to give a good bar a shot? Or we can always fall back on the local standards. Salon and cell phones, anybody?

Photo by Robert Fernandez

Photo by Robert Fernandez

THE BITE: I’m going to dive into the great pizza debate that rages over Brooklyn.

Here in Southern Brooklyn, we are lucky to have two of the best pizza parlors in the world. Di Fara, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s personal favorite, and Totonno’s, labeled best by one of my favorite food writers, Robert Sietsema. But, there’s one other, a recent arrival to the neighborhood who in its original location vied for the crown, called Grimaldi’s.

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Pizza Boulevard (Source: Google Maps)

Pizza Boulevard (Source: Google Maps)

Any alum of Leon M. Goldstein High School (née Kingsborough High School, in my day) has a special place in their heart for Pizza Boulevard at 1623 Oriental Boulevard in Manhattan Beach.

Located across the street from the front gates of the Kingsborough campus, in which Goldstein High School sits, it was a beacon of freedom and food. It meant, at long last, you were out of class and done for the day (or simply, y’know, cutting) – and also a good distance away from the cafeteria’s mutant fried-fish-with-American-cheese-baked-underneath-the-crust culinary atrocity.

Man, I could go on about the memories about that place. Some would tarnish my good mediocre name. Others would confirm every bit of what Manhattan Beach residents fear happens on that corner.

Let’s not stir that pot today.

Pizza Boulevard – the business – is for sale. Ben Bay Realty has the listing for $579,000, describing it as a “well established successful 1, 134 Sq. ft + full Basement, corner Pizzeria near a major NYC college and High School.”

It has 19 years left on the lease, at $5,300 month plus five percent increases each year, as well as 12 percent of the total taxes and insurance. It claims to seat 34 and have outdoor seating for 24, though it never felt like that.

Quite frankly, I’m a little curious about why such a long-lived and successful pizzeria in a key location is up for sale, and, to my untrained eye, half a million dollars doesn’t sound too bad.

What do you think?

Grandpa's Pizza Storefront

South Brooklyn Pizza opened in March 2013 and it was so new to the area that most of you probably won’t mourn the passing of the “pizzaiolo.”

A new pizzeria called Grandpa’s Pizza Cafe will take over the 2224 Avenue U storefront, and a sign says it’s “coming soon.”

We’ve wondered before if that corner location is cursed. Before South Brooklyn Pizza, there was Calabrese Pizza & Restaurant, which was also short-lived. Before that, there was Tai Yuan, which was open for only a few weeks. Tai Shan preceded that – again, surviving only a few months. By our count, it’s been five different businesses in as many years.

Thanks to Randy C. for sending us the photo and tip.

Source: DiFara.com

I suppose it hardly ranks as news anymore when Midwood’s Di Fara Pizza and Coney Island’s Totonno’s make a New York City top-10 pizza list, but it’s still worth a mention here anyway.

Village Voice is the latest to dub the two Southern Brooklyn pizzeria’s the first and second best, respectively, pies in town, with a top 10 list published on Tuesday.

Of Di Fara (1424 Avenue J), they write:

The Big Apple’s patron saint of basil sprinkling, Dom DeMarco has presided over this Midwood dough shrine since 1964 turning out gorgeous, imperfect rounds that are occasionally on the burnt side. No matter, even burnt this stuff is better than most. Whatever gruesome rituals had to be performed to achieve pizza this ethereal, we’ll gladly look the other way. Some folks will tell you to get there early, but we prefer to double down on delicious by placing an order at Di Fara and then walking around the corner to split one of the Italian comfort food dishes served at sister restaurant MD Kitchen. What’s better than a two-hour wait (most things)? A two-hour wait with shrimp parmigiana.

Of Totonno’s (1524 Neptune Avenue):

A beloved slice of historic New York City, Totonno’s has risen from the ashes twice in the past five years; first from a 2009 fire and then from Hurricane Sandy. Then again, half a decade is a drop in the bucket for the Coney Island pizzeria, which opened in 1924. Thanks to one of the most seasoned coal-fired ovens in town, the pizzas all bear puffed, char-speckled crusts sturdy enough to support generous layers of sweet, herbal tomato sauce and melted fresh mozzarella. The pizzeria is as busy as ever post-storm reconstruction. With any luck, it’ll stay that way well into the future.

Reps from Di Fara’s took to Facebook to express their gratitude to their patrons, writing simply, “Thank you again and again !!”

Of course, the news vindicates mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio somewhat, after he was blasted by the Daily News for choosing Di Fara’s as his favorite joint, a decision that they said shows he’s in bed with the one percent.

It doesn’t do much for his rival Joe Lhota, though. Of the top 10 pizzerias named by Village Voice, seven were in Brooklyn, two were in Manhattan, and one was in Staten Island. Queens, where he said he gets his favorite slice from a pizzeria of which he couldn’t remember the name, has no good pizza. And certainly no good buffalo chicken pizza. Because there’s no such thing as good buffalo chicken pizza.

What the hell, Joe. What the hell.

Source: DiFara.com

The beloved dough-tossers at Midwood’s Di Fara Pizza were forced to defend themselves against allegations that they existed only to feed New York City’s elite, after mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio declared it his favorite pizza.

The issue surfaced after the Daily News, in yet another hard-hitting policy report (akin to the “So… would ya’ kill a kittie?” fiasco), asked Democratic contender Bill de Blasio and Republican Joe Lhota which pizzeria produced their favorite slice.

De Blasio, erring on the side of, well, every freakin’ top-10 list in the city, said his heart and stomach are with Di Fara’s (1424 Avenue J).

“To all the Manhattan foodies out there: it’s not even close. This is clearly the best,” he told the newspaper, fawning of Dom’s use of “buffalo milk mozzarella, which is beloved in my grandfather’s province in Italy.”

The Daily News, in the business of creating controversy where there is none, declared that the rundown, generation-spanning family business is just a front for upper-crust snobbery, citing their $5 slice and $28 pie, believed to be among the highest in the city. They claim it’s at odds with de Blasio’s self-anointed status as a champion of the downtrodden.

“Mr. Tale of Two Cities eats his pizza with the 1%,” the paper claims. “But the man who says he’ll make the city a better place for the downtrodden if elected mayor insists the Brooklyn slice joint is worth the price — and the famously long line that snakes out its door.”

New York Observer’s Politicker blog, of course, wouldn’t let sleeping dogs lie, and turned to the pizza king for a rebuttal.

“No, I feel like we have a very unique product,” an employee told The Observer. “Anyone who tries it is going to find it to be a quality product. We hear people all day saying it’s one of the best things they’ve ever eaten. No matter what percent you’re in, once you try it, you’ll love it.”

And, of course, the whole idea that any pizza not laden with diamonds and the squandered dreams of Detroit factory workers is for the one percent is ludicrous. Even at the high price tag – $28 – a family of four can eat a meal and not break the bank.

What the Daily News should really be focusing on is Lhota’s answer. Not only can he not name his favorite pizzeria, he claims that his favorite slice is – gasp! – buffalo chicken! From Queens!!!

Freakin’ savage.

pizza-bagel

Pizza Bagel, the only kosher pizzeria on Avenue U east of Coney Island Avenue, located at 2724 Avenue U, has closed down as new owners renovate the storefront for its rebranding as Kosher Pizza Palace.

Pizza Bagel opened just a handful of years ago, and shuttered its gates in early August. The sign, announcing the management change, went up more recently, and workers were there on Saturday making some improvements to the exterior.

The new restaurant, Kosher Pizza Palace, is a Sheepshead Bay offshoot of the main location in Midwood, at 2916 Avenue M. No word yet on when it will open up.

pizza-on-bay

Just 21 months after replacing another pizzeria at the same location, it appears Pizza Cardo at 1730 Jerome Avenue has itself been replaced, this time by Pizza by the Bay.

We noticed the sign switch earlier this week, but are unsure of when it actually changed hands. Pizza Cardo opened in September 2011, months after the closing of Benny’s Gourmet Pizza.

Both businesses were kosher, and, judging by the certification letter in Pizza by the Bay’s window, so is the new spot. It is the only kosher pizza in the downtown Sheepshead Bay area.

Let us know if you’ve given Pizza by the Bay a try. And best of luck to the new business – more-so than their predecessors, we hope.

Photo via ny.eater.com

I have to admit, I am a little wary of writing this article. The daily lines to get a slice of Di Fara’s incredibly perfect pizza are already so long that I am loath to spread the word of the new spinoff spot located just a few doors down (1012 East 15th Street) that features an expanded menu. Still, if the food is just as good as Di Fara’s, no amount of ink spilled will stop foodies from flocking to Avenue J in Midwood.

According to a report by NY Eater, MD Kitchen is officially open for business, offering an expanded menu of delicious Italian foods that Di Fara used to feature before pizza became the only menu item.

Opened by the children of pizza master Dominic DeMarco, MD Kitchen will be serving up everything from pasta dishes, salads, heroes, sandwiches, wings, fries and hot dogs. The name MD Kitchen was humorously explained by Dominic’s daughter Maggie DeMarco on a Facebook entry.

“Mama DeMarco’s for our mom, Mikey DeMarco for our nephew, Maggie DeMarco for me? What it does not mean is medical doctor.”

Personally I don’t care what it stands for, I will be heading over ASAP to see how the new menu stacks up to the incredible pizza experience just a few doors down.

Posted this morning on Di Fara’s Facebook page:

[Di Fara] is happy to announce that several doors down we will be opening a tiny take out place offering all our old menu items that so many have been missing. We will have pasta, heros, salad and more.We expect to open mid April. All our products will use the finest and freshest ingredients as we always do at Difara….please, no questions at this time…Will update as we see fit ! Thank you….Happy April !

Eater, which was the first to report on this off-shoot of the current Di Fara’s location (1424 Avenue J), notes that it will be the first time in at least 10 years since Di Fara sold pasta dishes.

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