“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.”
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.”
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.”
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 →
Whether you know it or not, the meatball plays an iconic role in history — especially kid history. Perhaps you were obsessed with “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” when you were a kid. Or maybe the other camp kids couldn’t get you to stop singing “On Top of Spaghetti,” the song about the sad fate of the once-delicious meatball that was sneezed upon and rolled off the table, turning into mush. Maybe you were so obsessed with meatballs that just like Adam Sandler, you named your dog Meatball (perhaps he was inspired by the meatball-doling grandma in “The Wedding Singer”). Or maybe you were just the one in the family who always cleaned his plate of every single meatball from the local Italian deli.
Well, bully for you, because tomorrow March 9 is National Meatball Day. What better way to celebrate than with a mountain of spaghetti topped with a couple of tomato drenched meatballs? When someone mentions meatballs this traditional childhood Italian rendition is usually what comes to mind, but meatballs are all grown up these days, and come in so many shapes, sizes and flavors. If you’re looking for a place to celebrate in North Brooklyn, we’ve got you covered. Continue reading →
Two Greenpoint Landing buildings have reached a construction milestone — a vertical one. Both 33 Eagle and 21 Commercial Street have topped out.
Greenpoint is on the map for hot sauce in New York City. Though the resident expert at The Heatonist cautioned that there’s “no face-melting sauce coming out of New York City right now,” Paulie Gees favorite Mike’s Hot Honey represents some of the best of the Big Apple’s Big Pepper Ambitions.
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!
Do your parents ask you, “What do you want for Christmas?” and you never have any idea? Why not ask them for a gift certificate to one of your favorite local restaurants? Paulie Gee’s, Greenpoint’s best pizza restaurant, offers gift certificates!
Nothing is better on a cold winter night than warming up to delicious pizza out of a hot wood fired oven.
Is your Mom like mine? Does she actually make you get the present and then wraps it and gives it back to you? In that case it’s so easy – just call or stop in one hour before opening – around 5pm to grab your gift certificate from Paulie Gee’s.
Join Greenpointers for a Rice Balls Class & Supper with Jen on Monday April 23rd, 2012 at 7pm at Paulie Gee’s (60 Greenpoint Ave). Learn how to make homemade arancini, which means little oranges, a delicious, traditional Sicilian specialty. After we fry up all the rice balls we can sit down and eat them all. Includes wine. Course includes all food and materials. (Vegetarian Friendly.) This is going to be ALOT of fun!
Limited seating. Reserve by making a payment via paypal.