A History of New York's Feuding Pizza Dynasties

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The Original: Lombardi's
1905
Gennaro Lombardi applies to the city government for the first license to make and sell pizza in this country. His restaurant becomes the training ground for the citys next generation of pizza-makers.


Totonno's
Spun Off From: Lombardi's

1924
Founded by Anthony Totonno Pero, former Lombardis pizza-maker.

1940s-1994
Ownership changes hands three times, all within the family.

1994
Gennaro Jerry Pero, Anthonys son and a former owner, dies.

2009
A fire burns the original Coney Island pizzeria. It gets rebuilt and reopens less than
a year later and today is the only Totonnos still open.

Total Pizzerias: 1


John's Pizzeria
Spun Off From: Lombardi's

1929
Opened by John Sasso, who was trained by Lombardi.

1947
Sassos nephews Augustine and Patrick Vesce take over the business.

1970s-1980s
Ownership changes hands two more times, all within the family.

1984-2008
Johns opens up two additional restaurants in Manhattan and one in Jersey City.

Total Pizzerias: 4


Patsy's
Spun Off From: Lombardi's

1933
Pasquale Patsy Lancieri, who briefly worked at Lombardis, opens Patsys in East Harlem with wife Carmella.

1974
Lancieri passes away.

1991
Carmella sells the East Harlem pizzeria to longtime employees John Brecevich and Frank Brija.

1995
Brecevich and Brija license the Patsys name to Nick Tsoulos. Six other Patsys have opened in Manhattan since then.

Total Pizzerias: 7


Grimaldi's
Spun Off From: Patsy's

1941
A teenage Patsy Grimaldi starts making pies at his uncle Patsy Lancieris restaurant.

1990
Grimaldi opens his own coal-oven pizzeria in Brooklyn at 19 Old Fulton Street and calls it Patsys.

Mid-1990s
Brija takes Grimaldi to court over name licensing, resulting in Grimaldis rechristening his
pizzeria after his last name.

1998
Grimaldi sells the restaurant to Frank Ciolli but stays on as a sometime consultant. Over time, Ciolli opens 32 out-of-state locations and four New York locations.

2011
Landlord disputes and rent problems force Ciolli to relocate to One Front Street.

2011
Patsy and Carol Grimaldi decide to open a new pizzeria called Julianas, named after Patsys late mother, in the original Fulton Street location, reuniting him with his coal oven.

2012
Ciolli files a lawsuit seeking an injunction against Grimaldi, citing unfair competition.

Total Pizzerias: 36

See Also: How Patsy Grimaldi Is Getting His Good Name Back

*This article originally appeared in the October 29, 2012 issue of New York Magazine.