paulie gee

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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Leech Therapy, Drag Pageants, & Paulie Gee – The Hook Up (3/21)


Would you let this man give you leech therapy? © Nina Roberts/The Guardian

Leech therapy is a thing now. Andrew Plucinski, is apparently running a leeching therapy service out of his Greenpoint loft, which he’s dubbed the “Silesian Holistic Center.” It’s like super DIY.  Now, to get one of our writers to try it…. (The Guardian)

A new massive sports club is slated to open near Berry Park and will have four floors, a rooftop deck, and two endless pools… because the wealthy Williamsburg condo owners need an equally fancy place to workout. We’ll be the ones sneaking in.  (Bedford + Bowery)

Polish immigrants in Greenpoint are concerned that Russia’s power over Ukraine could spill over to their home country. Fears have been steadily rising in the Polish media. Many worry that Putin will want to re-exert the power that Russia once had over Poland before the fall of the Berlin Wall. Continue reading

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Paulie Gee is TAKING OVER the USA!

© American Digest

According to Eater, our favorite local pizzaiolo (that means pizza genius) Paulie Gee “is planning a massive multi-city expansion, aiming to open locations in Chicago, Oakland, Portland, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Columbus, and Long Island…” and of course,  “…when evaluating potential locations he considers whether they have a similar vibe and demographic makeup to his home base location in Greenpoint, Brooklyn .”(just north of Williamsburg).

Soon you can enjoy Paulie Gee’s pizza in every coolest city in the USA!

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Paulie Gee Ricotta Pie Winner: Ricotta Be Kidding Me

There are two winners for the ricotta pie that Paulie Gee needed some help naming.

Winner #1 is Meghan O with “Ricotta Be Kidding Me!” (Email me at greenpointers at to claim your prize!)

Johnny Boy who commented with “Feel Like Bacon Love” also won, but for another pie that was formerly named Marcella Matricana.

Paulie said, “I thought Feel Like Bacon Love was a better name for that pie so I renamed it.  Johnny came in last night with his fiancé so I gave them both pies.”

Feel Like Bacon Love – Italian Tomato and Butter Sauce Flavored with Onion and Smokey Bacon, Fresh Mozzarella, Pecorino Romano and Post-oven Milled Black Pepper
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Portrait Week # 6: Paulie Gee

paulie gee
Paulie Gee © 2013 Jennifer Galatioto

Paulie Gee and Mary Ann (Mrs. Gee) and Jon and I do brunch double dates every so often. It’s a great time! I shot this portrait of Mr. Gee at M. Shanghai. If you go there, get the eggplant salad. If you go with Paulie, make sure to order two. He died over it.

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Paulie Gee Sake Pie Winner Plus Another Pie To Name!

Paulie Gee isn’t a man who settles. I knew that even after 35 comments of clever names for a new pie on his menu, if it wasn’t absolutely perfect, he wouldn’t chose one. There were some real winners, like:

The Akira Kurosake, Land of the Rising Dough, Greenpointzilla!, For Heaven’s Saké, etc

But he is a man who keeps his word, so don’t worry – someone is getting a damn pie!

Paulie Gee’s response:

“We are going to go with a name suggested by our busser Jake.  It will be called Sake Mountain Way, a take off on the Joe Walsh song Rocky Mountain Way.  Jake was inspired by whomever suggested Sake Balboa, so whomever suggested that is the winner.”

Congratulations Julie! (Email me to claim your winning pie – greenpointers at

And thanks for everyone who commented!

Here is another pie Paulie needs help naming, which  he says “was inspired by my favorite calzone. Fresh mootz, sliced Canadian bacon, sweet Italian fennel sausage, a touch of fresh basil and post-oven ricotta dollops.”

That looks good!

Hints: Paulie is big into music and said it could start with “Ricotta Be…”

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