Rome to Brooklyn Pizza (587 Manhattan Ave.) is opening its second location in North Brooklyn in the Greenpoint space that was home to Coast and Valley, a local wine bar that closed in October of last year. Chef Aurel Xhepexhiu opened the first location of Rome to Brooklyn in 2020 on Williamsburg’s Grand Street.

Chef Aurel Xhepexhiu outside his new Greenpoint location of Rome to Brooklyn Pizza. Photo: Rome to Brooklyn Pizza

“I’m very excited to be opening in Greenpoint,” Chef Xhepexhiu told Greenpointers. “It’s actually where I learned how to make pizza 21 years ago.”

Chef Xhepexhiu is originally from Albania and grew up in Bushwick, working in pizzerias when he was young. “The guy who taught me how to stretch dough in 2003 was from Napoli, and he had a pizzeria on Nassau Avenue. I think the place isn’t there anymore, it’s been quite some time,” Chef Xhepexhiu said.

Before venturing out on his own, Chef Xhepexhiu worked at local pizza spots including Williamsburg Pizza (265 Union Ave.) and Emmy Squared (364 Grand St.).

A slice of Rome to Brooklyn’s fig, caramelized onion, gorgonzola and burrata pie. Photo: Rome to Brooklyn

The menu at Rome to Brooklyn showcases classic New York pizzas and other Italian specialities. “The main focus is pizza, but we also have some complementary pasta, focaccia paninis and salads,” Chef Xhepexhiu explained.

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Rome to Brooklyn offers classic pies, grandma-style pies, and Sicilian pies, all with creative ingredients, plus items like panzerotti, which is a deep fried calzone, and Sicilian arancini. The most popular orders are the grandma-style pies with pepperoni and hot honey and the Sicilian pies with burrata, vodka, and pesto.  

Rome to Brooklyn’s panzerotti. Photo: Rome to Brooklyn Pizza

“My personal favorites are the burrata, pesto, and vodka pie and our wild mushroom, truffle oil, rosemary, and taleggio cheese square pie baked in a pan with olive oil,” said Chef Xhepexhiu said, also highlighting the fig, caramelized onion, gorgonzola, and burrata pie, which he called “amazing.”

“We also have some funky stuff like the rosemary, potato, smoked mozzarella and pancetta pie or the blueberry, pancetta, hot honey, and arugula square pie, also baked in a pan with olive oil.”

The current interior of Rome to Brooklyn’s Greenpoint location, preparing to open next month. Photo: Rome to Brooklyn Pizza

“I really care about quality and using great ingredients to put out the best possible product for our customers,” Chef Xhepexhiu told Greenpointers. “I think we’ll add to the already amazing cuisine that is in Greenpoint.”

Rome to Brooklyn’s Greenpoint location has not set an opening date, but Chef Xhepexhiu told Greenpointers that he hopes to welcome guests by mid-June. 

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