greenpoint pizza

Paulie Gee’s to Celebrate 10th Anniversary at Original Greenpoint Pizzeria With Throwback Menu, Pricing and Staff

Paulie Gee’s owner Paul Giannone in front of his Greenpoint Avenue pizza mecca.
Paulie Gee’s (50 Greenpoint Ave.) will mark a decade in the neighborhood next week with a throwback celebration featuring the original menu and many of the opening night staff to make the magical pies that continue to draw crowds years later.
Inside the cozy Paulie Gee’s on Greenpoint Avnue.
Owner Paul Giannone opened the Neapolitan-inspired pizza destination in Greenpoint in March of 2010 and has since expanded with the instant classic NYC-style Paulie G’s Slice Shop on Franklin Street and a dedicated pizza kiosk at Madison Square Garden; not to mention the Paulie Gee’s restaurants that have opened in Illinois, Ohio and Maryland.
For the 10 year anniversary celebration happening on Monday (3/9), Pauli Gee’s menu will include the pies from opening night and some surprises, as Paulie Gee’s shared on Instagram:

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Paulie Gee & The Brotherhood of Pizza Entrepreneurs – Part V: Franchise Expansion

Paulie Gee's North Short in Columbus, Ohio
Paulie Gee’s North Short in Columbus, Ohio

This is the final installment of a five-part series. Read Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV.

Part V: Franchise Expansion

“If you talk to a lawyer,” Paulie informs me, “and you talk to the F.T.C., they’ll tell ya that they’re franchises… but my intention is to build a brotherhood of pizza entrepreneurs, ok? I told the lawyers what I wanted to do. They told me I had to form a franchise company. They told me what it would cost to do that. So I decided to ask another lawyer. I told em what I wanted to do, they told me that I had to form a franchise company. So I asked a third lawyer. Third lawyer? Franchise company. So, I bit the bullet and I did that. But really I build personal relationships with these people. They come in, ya know, when they can, they work with me… Derrick, who is gonna open up with me in Chicago, he contacted me for advice and I was itching to do something in Chicago, I had read about Wicker Park which is a great neighborhood… and when I talked with him, I said, where ya thinking about opening and he said ya know, Naperville, or something… he had a mobile business already making pizza out that way, Za Pie… he thinks it was a nice name. Hopefully he’s not reading this. In any case, I said, that’s too bad because I was hoping to maybe do something with somebody in Wicker Park. And about five minutes later we were on our way.”

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Paulie Gee & The Brotherhood of Pizza Entrepreneurs – Part IV: Location, Location, Location

Paulie Gee on Greenpoint Avenue
Paulie Gee on Greenpoint Avenue

This story is presented in five parts, read Part I and Part II and Part III.

Part IV: Location, Location, Location

Besides the potential for press coverage if Paulie Gee opened his pizzeria in New York City, another benefit was the cost of a liquor license: $140,000 for a license in New Jersey versus $505/year for a beer and wine license in New York City. But of course, Paulie would still need investors. “I own 80% of this place,” says Paulie. “But I do have investors. And a friend of mine, one of my oldest friends really, helped me, and he didn’t even know it at the time. He said, ‘Those investors, they’re gonna wanna know that you’re spending 100% of your time thinking about your restaurant and not your day job. But they wouldn’t mind if you took extra salary to make up for that.’ And that kinda opened up my mind on that. I said, ‘I’m gonna do this, this is great.’ And I started looking in Manhattan a little bit…  but Brooklyn was calling me home.”

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Paulie Gee & The Brotherhood of Pizza Entrepreneurs – Part III: Backyard Pizza Tastings

The brick pizza oven Paulie Gee built in his backyard
The brick pizza oven Paulie Gee built in his backyard

This story is presented in five parts, read Part I and Part II.

 

Part III: Backyard Pizza Tastings

From day one Paulie Gee made his own fresh mozzarella. He also made his own Limoncello. And he kept experimenting with different dough recipes and different types of pies. “I started inviting people over to my house to practice on them,” he says. “I was desperate to get people over to my house so I could try this new pie out and I’d do it about every two weeks.”

Paulie Gee’s pizza tasting parties have since become a legend unto themselves among the pizza enthusiast community: about eight people would gather in Paulie’s backyard, listening to music, enjoying Limoncello, as the pizzas were prepped in the kitchen and fired in the backyard oven. Paulie remembers the tastings fondly, though one difficulty was that with the prep area inside and the oven outside, he couldn’t work the oven and make the pizza. “The oven had to be 1,000 degrees,” Paulie explains. “So I always had to enlist the help of someone else to work the fire. And there were various degrees of success that those people had, mostly based on their attitude, ok? My son was a tremendous oven master. A lot of times people come in, they work the fire, they go sit down and watch the Mets game, usually the Met game, the Yankee fans stay out there and they really work that thing, but Mets fans they go in and sit down. Then I go out with the pizza looking for a hot oven, and ‘Uh-oh!’ So I learned it was Yankee fans that I wanted to have, this is a true story!”

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Paulie Gee & The Brotherhood of Pizza Entrepreneurs – Part II: The Beginning

Paulie Gee in NYC circa 1973
Paulie Gee in NYC circa 1973

This story is presented in five parts, read Part I here.

 

Part II: The Beginning

After working toward a BFA in Photography from SVA, Paulie Gee moved to Miami but missed New York and came back after just a short stint. “It must have been fate because that’s when I met my wife,” Paulie says. Having seen her on the train a couple of times, he saw her at a bar in Bay Ridge one night. “She was with friends and I said, ‘I know you.’ ‘No you don’t.’ ‘Yes, I do. You take the R train.’”

Proceeding to flirt with all her friends throughout the night, ignoring his future wife, Mary Ann. “Maybe I danced with her once,” Paulie says. “And at the end of the night, her girlfriend shoved her telephone number in my hand. That was basically it. In case she’s reading this, it was November 12th 1976.”

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Paulie Gee & The Brotherhood of Pizza Entrepreneurs – Part I: No More Takeout

Paulie Gee behind the bar at Paulie Gee's, 60 Greenpoint Avenue
Paulie Gee behind the bar at Paulie Gee’s, 60 Greenpoint Ave. Photo: Andy Smith

Editor’s note: this story is presented in five parts, stay tuned!

 

Part I: No More Takeout

To live in Greenpoint is to know Paulie Gee’s pizzeria. Since the restaurant first opened on Greenpoint Avenue in 2010, Paulie Gee’s became first a neighborhood institution, then a dining destination, and now an ethos unto itself, captained by none other than Paul Giannone himself (a.k.a. “Paulie Gee”).

Dining at Paulie Gee’s is truly an experience, if you can get in. Like many Brooklyn institutions, Paulie Gee’s does not take reservations. These days a line will form as early as 4pm for a table on the weekends. After 8pm? Fuggetaboutit. But if you do manage to get in, entering the restaurant is like entering a rustic pizza palace, a candle-lit cathedral of pie. Continue reading

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Ria Bella Pizza Opens On Manhattan Ave – with DEALS!

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Potato & Egg Pie at Ria Bella Pizza

Who loves pizza in Greenpoint? Well good news – Ria Bella, a new pizzeria just opened at 1049 Manhattan Ave (between Freeman St and Eagle St). But Ria Bella is not just any other slice spot – it specializes in hard to find Sicilian specialties (think square pies), plus they offer some great deals for lunch and game days.

For a girl with roots in Sicily, just a look at Ria Bella’s menu has me drooling. The Caponata, a dish I grew up on, is a sweet and sour eggplant spread that should be served in a bottomless dish in my opinion.

Sicilians are masters at serving multiple types of carbs in one dish (this is a good thing) – like Ria Bella’s Potato & Eggs Pie (pictured). Getting a pizza crust perfectly crisp while cooking an egg on top is not an easy task and thus a hard to find topping – but not in Greenpoint anymore.

Let’s talk Sfincione, not an easy to pronounce but a very easy to eat pizza that has anchovies, bread crumbs and caciocavallo cheese on top. This was a treat my Grandma (aka Nonna) made in a square pan growing up and I cannot wait to sink my teeth into it again.

You will have to go in and try the rest of the menu, which has vegetarian friendly options as well.

Let’s talk DEALS: Lunch in Greenpoint just got easier and more affordable because Ria Bella is offering 12″ personal pies for only $8 Tuesday-Friday between 12-4pm. And on Game Days (Thursdays and Sundays) buy one pie and get the second half off.

Try it and let us know what you think!

Ria Bella

Address: 1049 Manhattan Ave

Phone: (718) 389-4400

Hours:

Tuesday-Thursday: Noon-10pm

Friday & Saturday: Noon – 11pm

Sunday: Noon-9pm

Follow Ria Bell Pizza on FacebookInstagram @RiaBellaPizza

Sponsored post courtesy of Ria Bella Pizza.

 

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