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What to Expect: Brooklyn Central Pizza, Opening Tomorrow

Brooklyn Central, the new pizzeria from Sottocasa pizzaioli Matt Hyland and Roberto Patriarca, will be opening tomorrow in the space last occupied by Pete's Pizzeria, on Fifth Avenue between First and Second Streets.

The space has been completely transformed, and is comfortable and casual. There's a seating area up front with a full bar behind that, and a hand-built wood-burning oven from Naples' Stefano Ferrara dominates the back room. There's a counter surrounding it so you can watch the magic happen, and behind that is an outdoor seating area, which should seat about 35. There's plenty of exposed brick and reclaimed wood; the counter is actually made from an old bowling alley.

But on to the pizza. "Flour, water, yeast, and salt are the only ingredients," said Patriarca, who hails from just outside Naples and whose father ran several pizzerias in New York. "The pizzas are made in strict Neapolitan style, using primarily fresh, local ingredients." The crust is chewy and springy, with just the right amount of char from the blazing oven.

The pizza menu is separated into two sections: "New World" and "Old World." Pizzas in the Old World section are made with imported fresh buffalo mozzarella and fresh tomato sauce, and come topped with prosciutto, sausage, ham, pepperoni from M&S, anchovies, mushrooms, olives, and other traditional toppings. There's also a classic calzone, filled with mozzarella, ricotta, ham, tomato, and basil. "Very traditional," added Hyland. "We're going back to basics with the Old World menu."

Where the Old World menu is classic and traditional, the New World offerings are anything but. There's the North Maple (above), topped with smoked mozzarella, bacon, maple syrup, and pecans. The Canard comes with duck, smoked mozzarella, and a seasonal compote. The Ivette (named after Roberto's wife) has ricotta, onions, bacon, and potato. The Emily (named for Matt's wife, who also manages), has mozzarella, tallegio, truffle spread, pistachios, and honey. There's also a vegan pie, topped with sauce, artichokes, peppers, cherry tomatoes, and scallions. Fresh mozzarella on the "New World" pies is from Brooklyn as opposed to the "Old World"'s Italy, which makes for an interesting comparison when eaten side by side.

There's a solid assortment of appetizers, including a few salads, charcuterie from La Quercia, meatballs, oven-roasted octopus with fennel salad, and "stix," foccaccia rolled in pizza spices and served with tomato sauce (I have a feeling the kids will love that one). For dessert, there's a s'mores calzone (filled with marshmallow, chocolate, and graham crackers), "pizza churros" rolled in cinnamon sugar and served with Nutella, Steve's key lime pies, and Coolhaus ice cream sandwiches. Coffee is from Toby's Estate in Williamsburg.

There will be weekly pizza specials according to what's fresh and in-season, and brunch will be rolled out within a month. A liquor license is also in the works. They'll do orders to go, but are still toying with the idea of delivery. Brooklyn Central will be open from 5- 10:30 during the week, and until midnight on the weekends.

Owners Matt Hyland (l.) and Roberto Patriarca

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Reader Comments (25)

Quoting the great Bart Scott of the NY Jets... "CAN'T WAIT!!"

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJust Shlopin

Sounds great to me! We have a lot of pizza in PS, but this place sounds promising. Mid slope needs an EXCELLENT pizza place, north has Franny's, South has Giuseppina's, we got nothin. Till tomorrow, I hope!

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEm

Are they BYO until liquor license arrives?

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterstella

Sottocasa was ranked best pizza in the country somewhere. Just sayin'

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterhans

Um, "using only fresh, local ingredients" like "imported fresh buffalo mozzarella."

Odd, that.

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterballer

weird how "primarily" got changed to "only", baller.

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterenglebert

They close too early. 10:30pm on a weeknight? What is the suburbs? Some of us like to eat late, after all the kids in the neighborhood go to bed so we don't have to eat and listen to their screams.

I like Talde, they stay open till midnight every weeknight. We go there a lot specifically for their late hours (and of course delicious food). Always seeking out good later night options, 10:30 is just too early.

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHarry

DARN! Not open for lunch? Shoot! I want to try that maple pizza

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterParkSlopePerson

Quotes from the article:
"primarily fresh, local ingredients."
" Fresh mozzarella is from Brooklyn as opposed to Italy, which makes for an interesting comparison when eaten side by side. "

Does that make it less odd?

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJSS

@stella According to the owners, it's illegal to do BYO while in the process of applying for a liquor license. They do have kombucha on tap, Boylan's sodas, and housemade sodas and non-alcoholic drinks like lavender lemonade.

October 9, 2012 | Registered CommenterHere's Park Slope

@Baller/Englebert/JSS On the Old World pizzas, imported buffalo mozzarella will be used. On the New World pizzas, they'll be using local-made mozzarella. Apologies for the confusion.

October 9, 2012 | Registered CommenterHere's Park Slope

Agreed on later AND earlier hours, although perhaps they want to get their rhythm going first.

Pete's had on odd vibe to it, but decent pizza. Give us good pizza and the place will be a success. End of story.

Harry, I can promise you my kid goes to bed way before 10:30. You're safe. I'll also consider your offer to babysit.

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBrooklyn Brawler

Was lucky to be invited to the "soft opening" last night: a friends and family party. The pizza ia amazing, you will not be disappointed!

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAGP

@heresparkslope. Some would argue that BYO is illegal in NYC.
Most restaurants waiting on licenses tend to discourage BYO, as one good drunken brawl will nix your license. Many restaurants in this position make customers happy by pouring wine for free.

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterStella

Sounds incredible. Such a fresh, original take on what pizza can be. Look forward to trying.

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterP&P

Should add a few pasta dishes (ala Franny's) and not having some delivery is D-U-M-B.
Sure pizza is never as good after being boxed BUT
you only have like 20 seats in the place (more for 5mo of the year when its nice) - you can easily do triple the volume or more with deliveries with virtually no added cost or overhead - keep the delivery area small if you are worried about soggy pizza - but if you are allowing take-out, you shouldn't forgo the huge amount of $ available from a delivery business.

October 10, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterbrklynmind


Brooklyn Central seats 50 people inside. Where are you coming up with 20? Making that up?

BTW, Franny's does not deliver. Nor does many of the really great pizza shops. I think this one is aiming high, it's not a slice/delivery place but a top notch pizza restaurant.

October 10, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterizzy

I am going by the description (and having been in the location many times)
No way it is 50 and based on the description and pictures - 20 might be high:

"There's a seating area up front with a full bar behind that, and a hand-built wood-burning oven from Naples' Stefano Ferrara dominates the back room. There's a counter surrounding it so you can watch the magic happen, and behind that is an outdoor seating area,"
Franny's doesn't deliver -true - but 1. Franny's opened on Flatbush Avenue when rents were cheap - and 2. Frannys is bigger then this place and 3. now that they are established they are moving to a bigger location also on Flatbush (where at least pre-Barclays rents were still cheaper then this stretch of 5th).[Nor does Franny do an appreciable take-out business that I have observed]
Finally it seems clear that they are modeling themselves after Scottocasa - which does Deliver.

October 10, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterbrklynmind

@ brklynmind:

Have to agree with izzy on that one... NO NEED for delivery... Franny's doesn't why should they?? And there's a pizza-by-slice joint on the same block as Bagel World that does deliver. But you get what you pay for there and they're NO threat to Brooklyn Central.

To Brooklyn Central - If you're true to your word and make pizzas comparable to Franny's on a consistent basis, Me love you long-time with weekend orders!

October 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJust Shlopin


You are simply wrong about the seating: This is a report from the friends and family:

"This past weekend, they invited me by to get a look at the place and, much to my hangover's delight, sample a bunch of pizza. The space has definitely improved, with seating for fifty-four & a cleaner look than before. The seating starts with a few tables in the front, then moves to a bar on the right that leads back to an open kitchen featuring a few seats (for an up-close-and-personal look at the pizza-making process) & and a few more tables along the back left wall leading to the outdoor area, where there’s seating for about forty more."

October 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHarry

If you're including outside then 50 sure - just inside - no chance.

Regardless, in my business judgement they should do delivery. If they are intending to do a take-out business I don't even see what the controversy is anyway (more 'upscale' to deliver then have a bunch of people standing around the front of the store waiting anyway).

Its a small store with presumably high 5th Ave Rents and a huge audience of locals who are apt to order in far more than go out (PS Parents). There is no reason to concede this business to another merchant simply for the lack of an inexpensive delivery person.

Certainly if their Pizza is as good or better than Franny's (which Sottocasa isnt btw) they very well might do fine with just the seats they can accommodate; but given the benefits of tapping the volumes deliveries offer, IMHO they'd be dumb not to offer delivery - even if with higher minimums and smaller zone then typical of more lower-end shops.

October 10, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterbrklynmind

Sottocasa was named one of the best new pizza places in the U.S. by Food and Wine. Their list is usually thought of as the best in the industry as far as these lists go.

No reason to think it won't be on par with Franny's and the best of the best.

October 10, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterhans

Went there opening night, all of us were very happy with our pizza! We've had many Neapolitan pies, and this ranks with the best! Looking forward to enjoying some wine with our future meals, Emily knows her stuff and sounds like she's putting together a killer wine list..

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJSS

Tried it opening night, the New World Emily pie was off the charts delicious.
Kale salad is brilliant, as is the Canard pizza. The restaurant cannot just pour wine and give it away for free, that was tolerated once and is totally illegal and will get a place shut down.

I also don't understand how and why one commenter seems to know so much about the seating arrangement without having been there. There are 50 seats INSIDE and forty outside. To repeat, there are fifty (50) seats inside.

October 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDamon

I have been to the new space. There is 10 2-tops in the front, 4 4-tops in the middle, and another 3 2-tops in the back. That is 46 table seats. Then there is an additional 12 bar stools at the bar counter, and 10 stools at the pizza bar. So according to what is actually in the restaurant now there is 68 seats inside. Then add the patio space.

By the way, the food is great!!!

October 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCount the seats

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