Posts tagged food
We were all geared up for a big Queens pizza trip this Saturday, but car trouble, crappy weather, traffic, and fate all had other ideas. We eventually made it out to Howard Beach, but the folks at New Park wouldn’t let us shoot photos and asked us to come back another time. Same with the staff at Alfie’s in Richmond Hill. Both places serve up solid slices, and are worth checking out.
Lucky for us, we saved the best for last: Dani’s Pizza in Kew Gardens, Queens.
Dani’s is unassuming. It’s signage is more 80’s Miami nightclub than old school Queens pizzeria. Inside we were greeted by some of the friendliest, most jovial pizzamakers around. Yes, they said, take all the photos you want.
One of the pizzamakers, Cesar, has been making pizza for 12 years. It only took him two days to learn how though.
I started washing dishes, watching all those guys make pizza. Then they told me to start, and I think that’s why I learned so quickly. I was watching, and when it comes to make it, I make it.
Also, notice all that beer behind Cesar!
We have all the beers. Some times, around October, we have 70 or 80 different beers.
The owner don’t drink, he just like to have the customers have it. The customers come, they just love it…pizza and beer, pizza and beer.
There’s a bar on the corner over here, they close around 1 o’clock, so they’re drunk, they come over here to eat pizza and drink beer.
Also, this happened:
Customer: ‘I’ll have a Wittenberger’
Cesar: ‘Amigo, get this guy a cheeseburger and a Corona’
Basit, a local kid who moved to Flushing after growing up a few blocks from Dani’s, has seen the neighborhood around Dani’s develop.
I used to live right up the street when I was young, and this used to be the spot to get pizza. The neighborhood keeps developing, and it’s like new people come in, usually people from other countries, fresh, come to this area..it’s good for people who are not familiar with America…
I’ve seen buildings that were never here, now they’re here. They’ve refurbished old buildings and stuff. This place hasn’t really changed that much. A lot of the stuff around here, yeah, but not this place. They like to keep it original…that’s what they do.
There’s more pizza spots around here too. They got one across the street, but that’s not really, it’s not the same as a real pizzeria. People love pizza for the originality… you just get a slice…they make it by hand…I dunno. A lot of companies comin’ out with pizza…Little Cesar’s Pizza and all this, it’s not the same as New York pizza. New York pizza is the best.
I should also mention that Dani’s Pizza hosts a pizza eating competition in the summer. Three Saturdays in a row, from July 27 - August 8. According to Cesar, last year’s winner took down 14 slices in ten minutes.
Nestled along the LIE service road in Flushing, Queens, Brother’s Pizza has been slingin’ slices to neighborhood folks for the past 50 years.
Our pizza team recently got the chance to spend some time at Brother’s, where we spoke with Dennis, the owner, and Joe, who has been Brother’s pizzaman for 40 years.
“Joe knows me from when I was born. My mother used to bring me here in the stroller.”
“I bought the store about 3 years ago, and I worked here about 14 years prior to that. I started work here the day I got my drivers license. I always told the owner, ‘when you’re ready to go old man, I want in.’” -Dennis, Owner
Joe started making pizza here 40 years ago.
“I remember they were looking for a pizza maker, I called them up, and I came to their place, I came over here, and I’m still here.” - Joe, Maker
For Joe, making pizza is good work. He admits that “working in a place like this for 30 years is like working somewhere else for 50,” but he still loves his job. “For me, right now, I don’t wanna do nothing else except this.”
And as you might have guessed, making pizza for 40 years can really build up the ol’ “pizza muscles.”
Dennis: “When he takes off and goes on vacation, and I make the pizza, my shoulders hurt, and my hands hurt…”
Joe: “Maybe when you start, but to me, it doesn’t bother me. I make 20 pies, or I make 200 in a day, I feel the same.”
Brother’s is a straightforward New York pizza place that serves up a legit slice and not much else. But while customers come for the food, it’s the people that make it more than just a pizzeria.
“80% of the people who walk in that door know our names. Which goes a long way because they’re happy for you. So many people when I took the store over, were happy and proud of me, that they come back here because of that, because they saw me grow up, they saw me come here and start delivering a week before I got my drivers license, and they’ve known me now for 15 years and are glad.” - Dennis, Owner
Last but not least, Brother’s has some serious NYC celeb cred.
“We have Alec Baldwin come here all the time. He was here last week. Now he lost weight, so he can’t eat here that much anymore…his wife won’t let him.” - Joe, Maker
“I know the people working here. I know the owner. It’s a nice business. It’s one of the few places still around since I was little. There’s been so much change around Chelsea. Mom and Pop shops are closing down left and right. This is one of the few places that was the same when I was little.”
Anthony, Eater - New York Pizza Suprema, Midtown, Manhattan.
“When you do things it’s gotta come from the heart. In the end the food tastes better. I don’t know why but it does. If you’re someone who has that passion then the food will taste better. It’s cooked with love. Its that touch that makes the masterpiece.”
Frank, Maker - Rosella’s Pizzeria, Financial District, Manhattan.