Shake Shack is coming — so say farewell to a Brooklyn pizza guy

Shake Shack is coming — so say farewell to a Brooklyn pizza guy
Photo by Paul Martinka

Shake Shack is coming to Brooklyn, and a longtime Downtown lunchtime favorite is getting the boot in the process.

The owner of Tony’s Famous Pizzeria — who served pie and shakes for more than 20 years at the corner of Fulton and Adams streets — was not offered a new lease, setting the stage for the Manhattan-based burger interloper to move in.

Everyone, including Borough President Markowitz, has been celebrating the news — everyone except real Brooklynite Sal Casaccio, owner of Tony’s.

“We got caught in the flood of landlords trying to bring in so-called big business — I can’t believe they’re taking this building from us,” Casaccio said last week. “This location was like dating Pam Anderson. How can you replace Pam Anderson?”

Markowitz, Downtown Brooklyn Partnership President Joe Chan and celebrity restaurateur Danny Meyer rallied in front of Borough Hall to hail the iconic restaurant on Tuesday, calling the Shake Shack move a victory for “local business.”

Chan said that he helped Casaccio find a new spot on Fulton Mall near Bond Street, but nobody — not even Brooklyn’s cheerleader Markowitz — said they’d ever tried to defend Tony’s territory.

Sal Casaccio, owner of Tony’s Famous Pizzeria on Fulton Street at Adams Street, is being kicked out to make room for a Shake Shack, a fancy Manhattan burger stand.
Community Newspaper Group / Andy Campbell

“There has to be a balance,” Markowitz said. “We welcome the new business. As far as the old business, keep in mind that private property owners have a right to renew the lease or not. If this fella [Casaccio] wants to stay in business, there are other spaces in Downtown he can seek out.”

Meanwhile, Casaccio says he’ll begrudgingly move to his new location as early as next week.

Tony’s Famous Pizzeria’s new real estate near the new City Point tower construction site will still be prime — but Casaccio and his customers can’t see why a Brooklyn staple has to make way for Manhattan business.

“I eat here all the time, it’s my favorite spot,” said Sal Ganucci. “These [Shake Shack] guys could’ve taken any one of these unused buildings on Fulton Mall. Instead they’re just gentrifying the only good pizza in town.”

The move is all part of Fulton Mall’s big push for new business. Shake Shack — which does well at its swank Madison Square location, among others — will join the likes of H&M, Sephora, Filene’s Basement and Aeropostale to begin to change the face of Fulton Mall to what some developers want it to be: a high-class example of urban renewal filled with ritzy retailers and wealthy shoppers.

More on this story when the Shake Shack people actually call us back.

Burger meisters: (Left to right) Small Business Services Commissioner Rob Walsh; beloved restaurateur Danny Meyer; Shake Shack CEO David Swinghamer; burger-loving Borough President Markowitz, Shake Shack Chief Operating Officer Randy Garutti and Downtown Brooklyn Partnership President Joe Chan celebrate the first Brooklyn Shake Shack.
Photo by Kathryn Kirk / Borough President’s Office