Totonno’s Pizzeria not planning to close, despite rumors

The legendary Totonno’s Pizzeria in Coney Island.
File photo by Evan Gardner

Coney Island’s legendary Totonno’s Pizzeria won’t stop slinging slices anytime soon, despite local speculation that the beloved eatery had permanently shuttered.

“In an effort to protect our family members, staff, and customers in slowing the spread of the COVID-19 virus, we have temporarily closed our Coney Island restaurant,” said the pizzeria’s owners in a statement, which was posted by the local business group the Alliance for Coney Island. “We remain committed to our customers and the Coney Island community and look forward to seeing you all soon.” 

Totonno’s Pizzeria Napolitano, located on Neptune Avenue near W. 16th Street, opened in 1924. Its founder, Anthony “Totonno” Pero, was an immigrant from Naples who got his start making pizza at Lombardi’s grocery store in Manhattan, which became the country’s first licensed pizzeria, according to Totonno’s website. 

Decades later, New Yorkers still flock to the pizzeria for its thin-crust slices made from fresh ingredients imported from Italy. The restaurant has raked up its fair share of awards, having been named the number one pizza in America by the Food Network, and winning recognition from Zagat, The New York Times, and the James Beard Foundation.

The pizzeria is still operated by Totonno’s family, making it the oldest, continually run, family-owned pizzeria in the country, according to its owners.

Totonno’s owners have braved a series of obstacles, including two fires and Superstorm Sandy, which forced the eatery to close for several months. When COVID-19 struck in March 2020, the family decided to temporarily shutter the restaurant again and open whenever conditions became safe.

But this week, locals began to speculate that the restaurant had closed for good after seeing that on Google Maps, the pizzeria was listed as “permanently closed.” 

The owners assuaged those concerns on April 6, hinting that while Totonno’s doesn’t have immediate plans to open, the restaurant may find other ways to distribute its mouth-watering slices.

“Although we will continue to be temporarily closed at our physical location, we are exploring other options during this time to share our world-renowned pizza with our extended community,” the family said.