Grimaldi’s reopens in new location — with a coal oven!

The Brooklyn Paper
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Call it coaled confidence.

The owners of Grimaldi’s pizzeria reopened in a new location next door to their longtime, line-enwrapped haunt under the Brooklyn Bridge — and proudly showed off the coal-fired oven that the city approved late last week after an initial denial.

“It feels good to be back,” said Gina Peluso, daughter of owner Frank Ciolli, whose rent dispute with his landlord led to the eviction, relocation — and brief fight with the city over being allowed to install a real coal oven. “We have the same lines, the same oven and the same menu.”

Same same, only different: After waiting in long lines, customers waited more than an hour to get their pizzas as abrupt and hectic workers got used to the new space at 1 Front St.

“It will take some time to break in the new oven, but people have been raving about the pizza all day,” Peluso added. “I think the pizza will be all right.”

It’ll have to be better than merely all right. In March, original Grimaldi’s owner, pizza legend Patsy Grimaldi, will take over the space vacated by Peluso and Ciolli — including the original coal-fired oven from which Grimaldi churned out the pizza equivalent of arias.

On Saturday, though, Peluso didn’t want to talk about her old rival.

“I don’t think about Patsy Grimaldi,” she said. “He’s not competition at all. I’ve got more important things to think about.”

Ciolli’s new business partner, Christopher Paulsen, added that “the papers” are always trying to make more of the coming “war” between the maestro Grimaldi and Ciolli, the man to whom he sold the business in 2000.

“The papers make it seem worse, but there’s no animosity there at all,” Paulsen said. “The competition is good. But it’s a shame that someone [Grimaldi] has to come back and work in their 80s.”

Grimaldi could not be reached on Saturday, but has also downplayed the competition, saying only that he regretted selling the pizzeria, long considered one of the city’s best, and was itching to get back in the game when Ciolli was evicted in a long-running landlord-tenant dispute.

The new Grimaldi’s has the same tables and the same checkered tablecloths, but the walls are not covered with photos and tributes to Frank Sinatra. It is unclear if the Rat Pack has been tossed into the dustbin of history or whether Frank, Sammy and Dean-O will return when the place is fully remodeled.

One thing that will be new is a large outdoor yard. For the first time, Grimaldi’s will be able to seat 125 people under the stars come summer.

“Grimaldi’s is just going to get better and better,” Paulsen said.

Customers hope he’s right. Many were underwhelmed.

“I could have gone to any pizzeria, paid a quarter of the amount and a quarter of the time,” said Ben Simpson of Bedford-Stuyvesant. “Their job is really just to rip off tourists. I hope Patsy Grimaldi does a better job with service and quality.”

Reach Kate Briquelet at or by calling her at (718) 260-2511.
Updated 9:14 am, December 18, 2011
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Reasonable discourse

Mike says:
Grimaldi's has been crap for years. Their pizza is incredibly inconsistent and often comes out as cardboardy tourist dreck. I don't know why anyone would wait on line for hours for it.
Dec. 18, 2011, 10:11 am
jj from brooklyn says:
So, why exactly did the city change its mind?
Dec. 18, 2011, 10:26 am
Lisa from Manhattan says:
Grimaldi's was never the same since it was sold! The King of Pizza is back in Brooklyn and I can't wait until real pizza is back too!! Gina should be worried..
Dec. 18, 2011, 11:56 am
Ellen09 from Cobble Hill says:
This is Brooklyn. It's ridiculous how easy it is to get a great slice of pizza. The people who stand in line for either place are the same people who sleep in front of a corporate conglomerate chain to buy a kiss me elmo doll and go to Applebee's in Times Square even though they're in the greatest city in the world for food. The pizza may be decent but it isn't about getting a good slice to them, it's about saying they went there.
Dec. 18, 2011, 1:21 pm
the pizza from was bad says:
The oven is not the same or something changed.
Dec. 18, 2011, 2 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Oh NO!!! The earth will warm and polar bears will die from the coal.

Grimaldi's carbon footprint will kill us all!

Quick ! Plant some trees, ride some bikes, but don't breathe too hard or you'll release more CO2.

Stop, don't open that Pespi - you'll release CO2!
Dec. 18, 2011, 3:08 pm
Joey from Clinton Hills says:
wow, there are some nasty competitors out there!

Grimaldi's in Manhattan (at the Limelight on 6th Ave.) tastes as great as the old Grimaldi's. I'm confident the new stuff will be just as good.
Dec. 19, 2011, 10:52 am
Jason from Red Hook says:
All in the name of the mighty tourist dollar. Bloomberg will bend over backward to accommodate anyone who says they will bring money to the city but it takes a death or two to get a traffic light installed.
Dec. 19, 2011, 2:04 pm
Mike from Fort Greene says:
A coal-burning oven is one thing, but is it a steel oven or a brick oven. The brick kind are banned by the buildings department. Is that what these people got the variance for?
Dec. 19, 2011, 3:41 pm
DopamineJunkie from Prospect Heights says:
I just stopped by the new location. The pizza is the same but the new spot is huge and roomy. Great not to have to wait in line! Very excited about Juliana's opening next door. For more info and photos of the new location, please visit
March 5, 2012, 9:12 am

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