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Juliana's Pizza, in the Original Grimaldi's Space in DUMBO - Owner Patsy Grimaldi Reclaims Coal-Oven Pizzeria Space

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New developments in Brooklyn:

A years long landlord dispute has forced Grimaldi's to move up the block and leave its oven behind. The stunning news is that this location will house the return, from retirement, of Patsy Grimaldi. He plans to name the space after his mother Juliana.

Adam Kuban's summary article here and Rich Calder's NY Post exclusive here - graphic from his NY Post article:

The pizza-slinger switcheroo came about after landlord Mark Waxman decided not to renew Ciolli’s lease for 19 Old Fulton St. The move came a year after Waxman tried to evict Ciolli for being delinquent in rent.

“A year after I sold Grimaldi’s, I was very sorry,” Grimaldi told The Post. “So when Mr. Waxman called me and asked if I wanted to come back, I thought I was dreaming. I couldn’t say ‘yes’ fast enough.”

Grimaldi, who plans to open in March, said he’s spent the past 13 years traveling with Carol, his wife of 40 years.

But pizza is in his blood so he decide to stage a comeback.

Carol Grimaldi said that while the place will get a makeover, the menu would still focus on pizzas made with “only the best ingredients” — like her homemade mozzarella — and include other items like soups, calzones and desserts.

Patsy plans to be at the restaurant daily, greeting customers and making pies.


Mentions of Patsy's LES/Harlem pizzeria and Grimaldi's from the NYC Mother Thread:

Any other Chinatown recs? Heading to NYC in a couple of weeks and want to explore more of Lower Manhattan - maybe, weather permitting, walking across the bridge for Grimaldi pizza and exploring DUMBO.

Got amateur night dinner reservations at Tribeca Grill and Bolo (Flay's Spanish restaurant). Usually have Upper East/West Side centered visits so please help me make smart choices (BF awarded bonus points for August RW dinner at Cordouroy). Babbo/Lupia/Otto are booked (any walk-in tactics?).

Well....you're right. In name Totonno's now has three more outposts but it is only the original on Neptune Avenue in Coney Island that they promote as the "oldest continuously operating family owned pizzaria in the United States." It has a coal oven-I would be shocked if any of the other three which advertise "brick ovens" use coal. While I could be wrong I believe there has not been a coal oven approved for use anywhere in the United States in decades. It's the Neptune Avenue location that is the one to go to. I would argue that with an oven with 82 years of "seasoning" along with coal burning IN the oven with the pie that pizza there tastes different (crust) than at the other three. I would also make the same argument for Grimaldi's in Brooklyn and their two outposts in Hoboken and Phoenix. I first tasted Totonno's in the early 1960's; my guess is that it still tastes identical. (There is also a "bread" oven several doors down the street from Totonno's identical to the "pizza" oven that Pepe's has on Wooster street in New Haven.) This is really a whole separate thread since there are many who believe that the original Patsy's in Harlem is better than even the separately owned Brooklyn location.


More pizza notes:

Lombardi's (32 Spring St., Nolita, Manhattan): resurrection of the oldest known pizzeria in the US. They do a brisk tourist trade at Lombardi's every night of the week, so the pies really get cranked out. Still, the crust is good, if not baked to the same darkness that the smaller shops manage. The winner here is the abundant tomato sauce - bright red, rich and deep with the flavor of San Marzano tomatoes.

(Patsy) Grimaldi's (DUMBO, Brooklyn): although opened in 1990, the space looks like it's been around a lot longer. Despite being stretched amazingly thin, the crust still puffs up a tad much in the coal-fired oven giving it a slighty breadyness, but the flavor is terrific, and it's one of the few crusts that tastes perfectly salted to me. Nice color and blister development too. Good but undistinguished sauce and cheese are perked up appreciably by very fresh basil.

I ate at Per Se in late september and the prix fixe was 210 (including tax & tip) but there are often supplements (30 for foie, 75 for steak etc) so its definitely possible to spend 250 or more on food. I think it was absolutely worth the money, easily the best restaurant I've eaten in. The only one that was offerred the night we went was the foie, which I thought was worth it. The wine service was wonderful and fairly priced I think.

On the Pizza front I think Grimaldi's is on the lower end of the famous brooklyn pizza parlours, far behind Totinno's & DiFara in my opinion. DiFara is by far my favorite, but it can take an inordinate amount of time to eat there. All the pizza is made by Don Demarco, and I've waited upwards of 90 mins for a pie. Its right off the subway (1 block from the Avenue J station on the Q) but it takes @ 3hrs to ride the train, wait, eat, ride back from my place in Brooklyn Heights (right by Grimaldi's). Totinno's is farther away but takes less time. Another place worth mentioning is Franny's, which is right of the 2,3. This isn't one of the old time Brooklyn parlours, more like 2'amys in approach. The pizza is very very good though, as are the gellato & the appetizers Ive had.

1- Although I still go to Vanessa's on Eldridge St, the dumplings are no longer consistant, with thicker, doughier shells at times. Many of the other places written up on CH as "the best" are also thickly wrapped. Maybe Weinoo knows of something there or on the LES, since he was writing about a dumpling walk on his blog not long ago. However, if it's not just dumplings you're after but street food, I'd recommend the carts dotting Grand St from Eldridge to the heart of C'town. Everything from tripe to rice noodles stuffed with various "things". Vanessa's has decent mystery meat sandwiches as well.

2- I love Arturo's... a piece of old NY. The pizza is still quite good and the place is the opposite of yuppie. Salads are ok there but dont expect much from the other dishes... overcooked (but edible) old school red sauce pastas and "find the chicken inside the breading" parmagiana. Worth going to. STAY AWAY FROM GRIMALDI'S (the place in Bklyn under the bridge). Tourist trap, greasy and a line out the door. Motorino in the East Village and Keste in the West Village are hot spots.

If you're looking for something this Sunday (12/13) afternoon in NYC, folks from another food board (Mouthfulsfood.com) are getting together at a "bar with bar food" place in the East Village (Jimmy's, E.7th betw. 2nd-3rd Ave) starting at 4pm or so. Consider this an invite. After the welcome I got at the DR picnic and at Dino's a couple of months ago, it's my turn. Verrry informal and mediocre food. Good bar.

eta: nothing like going back over a thread and noticing that you not only have been to Arturo's, but I've already said that I like it. And mentioned Motorino and Keste. Okay then.

I would try Franny's and avoid Grimaldi's

Depending on the weather, a hike across the Brooklyn Bridge and then pizza at Grimaldi's (which -- fair warning -- I am informed may be in decline) literally under the bridge can be an excellent way to stretch legs and eat well.

We had a fine dinner at Lupa on a previous visit, and it seems a very kid-friendly spot.

I thought the Chelsea Market was a bit of a letdown, but YMMV. A walk on the High Line is always a good idea.

Over on the east side, one of the old coal-oven warhorses, Patsy's. 2287 1st Ave (between 117th St & 118th St). One of the few places you can get coal-oven pizza by the slice.

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Fantastic amount of research, Lydia. Thank you!!! Also, extremely interesting, too.

It's going to get more interesting. When Grimaldi opened there in '90, leaving his uncle's place in E.Harlem, the pizzas (and the overall place) were great. The homemade mozz., the upscale ingredients, the knowledge of how to use the coal oven and the solid training of staff all contributed to a very nice place, beloved by a lot of us locals (I live 10 blocks away). When he sold it in '98, it immediately went downhill and it appeared (to me at least0 that the ingredients being used were cheap and the labor unskilled and unsupervised. It's remained a well publicized tourist trap for the past 13 years but, as Yogi once said: "there's no there there". Now that the original oven will be used by the original owner (with his wife making the mozz once again), I anticipate Juliana's will become the destination place and Grimaldi's will get even worse. We'll see.

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After about year, Juliana's is now open at noon everyday.

There was court action initiated by the current owner of Grimaldi’s, but the judge ruled in the interest of ."healthy competition" and in favor of Juliana’s.

It's a slice of justice for Patsy Grimaldi in Brooklyn's ongoing pizza war.

A Queens judge has ruled the famed founder of one of the most popular pizza joints in the city can open a restaurant right next door to the flagship DUMBO location he sold to Frank Ciolli in 1998.

In September, Ciolli, 71, sued the coal oven legend, charging he violated a non-compete clause by coming out of retirement to flip pies again at Juliana's Pizza, a new joint in the same building he used to rent in DUMBO - right next door to Ciolli's pizzeria.

But Queens County Supreme Court Justice Augustus Agate decided against granting a temporary injunction to block the opening, calling it "healthy competition."

Anyone been able to get there yet?

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After about year, Juliana's is now open at noon everyday.

There was court action initiated by the current owner of Grimaldi’s, but the judge ruled in the interest of ."healthy competition" and in favor of Juliana’s.

Anyone been able to get there yet?

Lydia, I never thanked you (although Joe H did) for your wonderful initial post about Juliana's.

Steve, I look forward to your initial review. Thank you both very much.

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Fair Warning -- Long Winded Post Ahead. Bottom line: I liked it.

I'm from Brooklyn. I grew up blocks from DiFara's and it was my pizza place from the time I was 14 years old (I'm 60 now... do the math). I was gone for awhile during the 70s and moved back to Brooklyn in 1981. I used to go to Grimaldi's when Patsy owned it, since I live in the neighborhood. I liked it. Very different style from DiFara but similar in that both places use very good ingredients and care about the product.

Eleven years ago Patsy Grimaldi sold the name and the place and, in that 11 year span, I've gone exactly 3 times and havent liked it once. The ingredients were sub-par, it was greasy in a bad way and the crust had no chew or taste. Better pizza can be found in local slice places and there's one only 2 blocks away on Henry St (Fascati's) that does slices better even though they are not upscale. Of course, they are great p.r. people and managed to get tour buses lined up and lots of people are convinced their pizza is the best in the world. I have lived with that and chuckle when I walk past their cash cow with lines down the block. Best wishes to them. Well, these owners got into a major rent battle with their landlord and moved their Grimaldi's several doors down to the corner. And their landlord, pissed off at them, called Patsy and asked him if he'd like his old place back. Cant call it Grimaldi's since he sold the name, so Juliana's it is.

Four of us went tonite and had 2 large pies. Both were classic "Margherita" pizzas (which means tomato, mozz & basil). To one we added sausage and garlic, to the other meatballs and ricotta. Both were excellent and I realized that I hadnt just imagined the downturn in quality when the ownership of the original place changed. All these ingredients were, again, high quality and the pies had chew, taste and only enough oil to keep things from being too dry. A winner.

A couple of disclaimers to consider: first, I havent been to Grimaldi's in years and not at all since their move so I cant really compare Juliana's to Grimaldi's current product. But I have heard nothing to make me believe that Grimaldi's has changed anything. And, secondly, there are many very good pizzas in NYC right now (within 10 min. drive from here are Lucali's, Table 87, Sotto Casa, Krescendo and even Franny's) and I cant really say that this would be a destination place for me if it wasnt under a 10 minute walk from home. But, that being said, Juliana's is certainly putting out good coal oven NYC pizza again and, if you have a choice of where to go in that immediate neighborhood, it's a no brainer.

A good dessert as well: Carol Grimaldi's home-made "brookies" (chic. cookies that are more like brownies) sandwiching a scoop of raspberry choc. chip ice cream from the Brooklyn Ice Cream factory down the block (currently closed but producing wholesale from somewhere else).

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I was saddened to read about Carol Grimaldi's death. The WSJ article was touching and included remembrances from her husband, Patsy Grimaldi:

Many would remember her kind gestures toward workers at their restaurants and neighbors in times of need, he said.

"She was always there for everybody," he said, saying she helped her employees who were immigrants secure permanent residency in the U.S.

And when a neighbor's "mother died, they had no money for the funeral. She paid for the funeral. She did a lot of great things for people," Mr. Grimaldi said.

"I'm gonna miss her very much."

Her legacy extended beyond establishing the pizza restaurant, he said.

Ms. Grimaldi also presided over 25 group homes which housed children with disabilities, one of whom was their son, who is blind and suffered brain damage.

He said he faces an agonizing task breaking the news to him. "I don't know what I'm going to do, but my son doesn't understand. I'm afraid to tell him. He depended on her a lot," Mr. Grimaldi said.

I still haven't gotten in the habit of reading the RSS feed, but thought this should be included in the Juliana's thread.

Source: Grub Street New York

She was 75.

Some sad news: NBC reports that Carol Grimaldi has died at the age of 75. Grimaldi, along with her husband Patsy, of course, launched Patsy's Pizza "” which eventually changed its name to Grimaldi's "” in Dumbo in 1990 before eventually selling the business to Frank Ciolli. After Ciolli moved Grimaldi's up the street in 2011, Carol and Patsy reclaimed the original space and opened Juliana's, named for Patsy's mother. (To read more about that, check out this excellent 2012 story from New York.) NBC says the cause of death was cancer. [NBCRelated...

Read full article >>

Here's a photo of Juliana's, by Kevin Hagan, from the WSJ article for my future navigation:


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